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Dustin Pedroia on The Bradfo Show: ‘I started to feel better and the results weren’t there’

06.27.14 at 9:25 am ET
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Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia joined The Bradfo Show to discuss his adjustments at the plate this season. To hear the interview, go to The Bradfo Show audio on demand page.

While the numbers may say otherwise — he’s hitting .265/.338/.377 through 77 games this season — Pedroia said he’s a better hitter now than he was in his 2008 MVP season.

“I think that early in your career pitchers don’t know you as well,” he said. “They come at you with a lot of fastballs in the inner part of the plate to see if you can hit it. Obviously if you start hitting them they stop doing that.

“So I think there’s more thought into the way they approach hitters, not only me but other guys, too. You try to stay away with the scouting they have, you try to stay away from a guy’s power area. That eliminates a lot of mistakes that they make on the inner part of the plate. You’ve just got to be smart and wait for the pitch you want and drive it.”

In the middle of his eighth full major league season, Pedroia said the way pitchers throw to him differs each day, which forces him to adjust his approach based on what he’s up against.

“My first couple years in the big leagues, I think pitching is a lot better [now],” he said. “You see a lot of guys throwing harder. You take two strikes on the outer half, you don’t really want to be down 0-2 on a guy who throws a 100 mile an hour fastball because if he doesn’t throw it where you want, you’re going to strike out.

“So sometimes you’ve got to make adjustments and be looking to hit the ball the other way instead of trying to get your pitch in and do damage with it.”

Unfortunately for Pedroia, the approach hasn’t led to the results he’s been hoping for offensively. But it doesn’t mean he hasn’t been hitting the ball the way he wants to. He noted multiple line-drive outs in the Red Sox‘ latest homestand.

“I started to feel better and the results weren’t there,” Pedroia said. “And I think that’s the part that’s frustrating. But when you’re going good, you’re taking your approach into the game, trying to see the ball and putting your swing on it. You’re not thinking too much about anything. You’re not thinking about, ‘I’ve got to get a hit.’ You’re trying to put a swing on it, see the ball. Kind of care free.

“Trying to get back to that. See the ball, let your ability take over and that’s all you can do. That’s what gets you out of not hitting the ball well or not doing what you do.”

Pedroia added: “Sometimes I’ve had at-bats this year where I’ve had runners on and smoked a ball and got out. It adds more pressure to it. Instead of thinking, ‘There’s not really much I can do,’ I’ve got to think, ‘Great at-bat, I just didn’t have results.’

“People don’t see that. They just looking at the numbers and go, ‘This guy is hitting this.’ Instead of sticking with the process, you try to do too much instead of letting the game play out, come to you, and over the course of the season you’re going to be where you want to be.”

Pedroia said he’s tried being more aggressive with his approach this season.

“I think traditionally I’ve worked the count and see a lot of pitches and grind at-bats,” he said. “But when the team is struggling a little bit offensively for the most part, we’re not in the rhythm of the game. If I get a first-pitch fastball I’m going to let it fly.

“Obviously they have scouting reports, like I said, and figure that out. Instead of doing that, they’ll throw a first-pitch ball and set up my at-bat for me.”

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