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Red Sox's Pedroia expects hitting to improve against Rays

Dustin Pedroia reacts after flying out during Game 2 against the Angles. He went 1-for-17 in the division series.

Associated Press

Dustin Pedroia reacts after flying out during Game 2 against the Angles. He went 1-for-17 in the division series.

ST. PETERSBURG — Dustin Pedroia is confident enough in his postseason prowess to assume he has not lapsed into a slump despite a 1-for-17 performance against the Angels in the division series.

After batting .345 in the championship series against Cleveland as a rookie last year (.283 for the entire postseason), the plucky second baseman and MVP candidate didn't see a problem with his approach or effort.

"They kind of shut me down, so I think it's more a credit to them than me doing that bad," he said before a workout on Thursday at Tropicana Field.

Rays Game 1 starter James Shields might have been wise to sequester himself in the video room Thursday night if the Angels revealed the antidote to the player who led the league in hits (213), runs (118) and doubles (54) and finished second in batting average (.326).

"I think he definitely ignites that lineup," said Shields, who has allowed five hits in 10 at-bats against the Sox's No. 2 hitter. "I think if you get him out once every fourth at-bat, you'll be all right."

The Angels did better than that but still dropped the best-of-five series in four games.

Boston got step-up efforts from Jed Lowrie (.364) and Jason Bay (.412, two homers, team-high five RBIs), who knocked in and scored the series-clincher, respectively, in the ninth Monday at Fenway Park.

But Pedroia's struggles hamstrung No. 3 hitter David Ortiz. He was pitched around and hit .235, walking three times and striking out four in what he admitted was a frustrating series.

"Sometimes in a close game, you might see one pitch," Ortiz said. "And if you don't hit it, you'll never see another one."

FAST, FOOD: 1B Kevin Youkilis was a tad peckish as he fasted through Yom Kippur, but Tropicana Field's translucent sky provided him leeway in waiting until sundown to eat.

"All the Jewish people keep telling me there's no sunlight," he said. "So you're allowed to do it."

LIGHTER SIDE: The latest flare-up of 3B Mike Lowell's torn hip labrum forced him off the playoff roster and Youkilis to third. Though Mark Kotsay and Sean Casey have proved able fill-ins at first, Boston loses two Gold Glove players at their natural positions. Youkilis likes the change of scenery, however.

"Holding on baserunners can be pretty boring, especially in the playoffs," he said. "You don't want to talk to anyone in the playoffs. You're hoping no one gets on."

ROSTER SET: The Red Sox opted for an 11th pitcher, adding reliever Mike Timlin to the roster and dropping INF Gil Velazquez.

Times staff writer Dave Scheiber contributed to this report.

Red Sox's Pedroia expects hitting to improve against Rays 10/09/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 9, 2008 7:30pm]
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