BOSTON (CBS) – Listed at 5’8″, 165 pounds, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia doesn’t fit the typical cleanup-hitter mold.
Manny Ramirez, who hit cleanup for years in Boston, is 6’0″, 200 pounds. Former Sox slugger Mo Vaughn hit cleanup for the team in the 1990’s, and he was even bigger at 6’1″, 230 pounds.
The difference in size, though, means nothing, as long as you produce. Batting cleanup in place of the injured Kevin Youkilis Tuesday night, Pedroia certainly produced. He went 4 for 5 with a triple, a double, and two singles with three runs scored and an RBI. He nearly hit for the cycle, flying out to deep left-center in the eighth inning.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jonny Miller spoke to Pedroia after Tuesday’s game:
In fact, over his career, Pedroia is hitting a Ruthian .558 (19-34) out of the cleanup spot with five doubles, one triple, and four home runs. Why is he so successful batting fourth?
“I don’t change my approach. I’m just trying to get on base, see pitches, get deep in the counts, and that’s basically it, so there’s no secret behind it. I guess I’m lucky, I don’t know,” said Pedroia.
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Pedroia, who extended his hitting streak to 23 games, was on base four times in front of No. 5 hitter David Ortiz, who clubbed three doubles and knocked in 5 RBI.
“If I’m Tito, I’m letting (Pedroia) clean up the whole year,” said Ortiz. “If you look at his numbers, it’s ridiculous the way he hits right there.”
Youkilis, the regular cleanup hitter, may miss Wednesday night’s game against the Royals with a hamstring injury, meaning we may see Pedroia back in the cleanup spot at least one more game.