|Dustin Pedroia on Jon Lester: ‘We love him and I’ll play behind him any day of the week’||07.22.12 at 7:20 pm ET|
Aside from Brett Lawrie‘s towering homer over the Green Monster on the first pitch of the game from Jon Lester, the defining moment arguable came when Dustin Pedroia followed Lester into the dugout after the Red Sox starter was hammered for five runs and four hits in the first inning.
Pedroia was animated – as is his style – and was trying to send a message to Lester. It wasn’t filled with anger but inspiration.
“Basically, just telling him that we have his back,” Pedroia said. “Everyone goes through tough times. Just said, however many starts you have the rest of the way, we’re not going to win the World Series if Jonny’s not himself, if I’m not myself. He’s not going anywhere. He’s our horse.”
Losing 15-7 and watching Lester fall to 5-8 with a 5.46 ERA on the season does nothing to dampen Pedroia’s feelings about Lester as a teammate.
“We love him and I’ll play behind him any day of the week,” Pedroia said. “Just wanted to make sure he knows that because everyone goes through tough times, we all do. There’s times when you’re not playing well, I’m not swinging the bat well, it’s good to have reassurance from your teammates that we’ve got your back.”
Pedroia has had his own set of frustrations this season, like going through a 1-for-15 spell when he was trying to play with an injured right thumb. So, Pedroia figured he could relate with Lester and deliver the right message.
“He’s frustrated. As long as I’ve known Jon, every game he pitches, we’re in it. It’s all you could ask for. He’s got a great winning percentage for a reason, because he’s a bulldog, attacks the zone and gets outs and overpowers people. Obviously, his confidence is not high right now but it’ll get back to being high. He’ll be fine.”
What’s interesting is that Pedroia and Lester essentially came into the majors with the Red Sox at the same time. Both were young, instrumental parts of the 2007 World Series championship team. The next year, Pedroia was AL MVP and Lester threw a no-hitter against Kansas City.
“He’s had that talk with me,” Pedroia said. “Everyone goes through tough times throughout the year and it feels good when a teammate comes to you and says it’s going to be all right.”
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