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Amazing but true: Why Pedroia vs. Weaver at-bat was one of a kind

05.03.11 at 12:45 pm ET
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Dustin Pedroia had an epic 13-pitch at-bat that ended in a two-run single to help the Sox beat the Angels, 9-5. (AP)

It was an at-bat for the ages.

Seem like hyperbole? It’s not. The 13-pitch at-bat between Dustin Pedroia and Jered Weaver that concluded with a two-run single was unlike any other on record at Fenway Park.

With an assist from Gary Marbry of Nuggetpalooza fame, some of the facts that made the at-bat so remarkable:

–Pedroia’s 13-pitch at-bat matched the longest of his career. His other at-bat of that length came in his third game in the majors, on Aug. 27, 2006, when Pedroia worked a 13-pitch walk against Cha-Seung Baek of the Mariners.

–Pedroia now has the only recorded hit on an at-bat of 13-plus pitches by a Red Sox at Fenway Park (with records of such things dating to the 1970s in baseball-reference.com). He became the first Red Sox since Damon Buford (in 1998) to record a hit in a plate appearance of 13-plus pitches. Since 1993, in fact, Sox hitters were 1-for-10 with five walks in plate appearances of 13-plus pitches.

–No hitter had ever gone to as many as 13 pitches in an at-bat against Weaver in his career.

–In 27 previous regular season and postseason at-bats between Pedroia and Weaver, no plate appearance had lasted more than eight pitches. In fact, only one plate appearance between the two had lasted more than six pitches.

–Pedroia entered the at-bat with abysmal career numbers against Weaver. Including his strikeout and groundout in his first two plate appearances on Monday, Pedroia was 3-for-24 with a line of .125/.222/.208/.450 against Weaver. He’d never before driven in a run against the right-hander.

–Pedroia was not alone in his futility against Weaver, however. Entering last night, Weaver had held right-handed hitters to the lowest average (.126), second-lowest OBP (.186), third-lowest slugging mark (.189) and second-lowest OPS (.375) of any pitcher in the American League (min. 50 PAs against by right-handed hitters).

–Weaver had previously engaged in 25 at-bats of 10-plus pitches in his career. Opponents were 2-for-20 with five walks and eight strikeouts in those situations, good for a line of .100/.280/.150/.430. He had never before allowed a run-scoring hit in such situations. The fact that he had issued just five walks might be the most remarkable element of his history in such battles — that means that he threw no fewer than four additional strikes after getting to two-strike counts.

–Until that at-bat, Weaver had thrown no more than nine pitches in any at-bat in 2011. In 14 plate appearances of seven or more pitches this year, opponents were 0-for-13 against Weaver with one walk.

–The Sox made Weaver throw 38 pitches in the one inning. He’s now thrown more than 20 pitches in eight innings this year; three of those came on Monday. Weaver had not been forced to throw as many as 38 pitches in an inning since the first inning of a game against the Orioles on Aug. 14, 2009.

–Pedroia now has 19 career plate appearances in which he’s seen at least 10 pitches. In those, he’s 5-for-13 with a homer (off then-Rangers closer Eric Gagne) and six walks, good for a line of .385/.611/.692/1.303.

In sum, it was a kind of irresistible force meets immovable object sort of showdown when Pedroia and Weaver did battle. And in the end, it would appear that the irresistible force prevailed.

“He has a way of doing that,” manager Terry Francona noted of Pedroia. “He fights. He doesn’t give in. I mean, not just at the plate, on the bases, in the field. He comes in and gets the double play ball or turns it into a double play ball. On the bases, he gets a great read. He plays the game. He’s a ballplayer.”

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