Red Sox season filled with highs, lows as crunch time arrives

Posted Sept. 10, 2009, at 12:59 a.m.

The youngster walking with him wasn’t much taller, even if two decades younger. They both looked very happy.

Prior to Tuesday’s game at Fenway, diminutive Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was giving the on-field guided tour to a young man from Florida who was just beaming.

When the tour was done, I asked Pedroia, “Was that a Make a Wish kid?”

“Yes,” said Pedoria. “He’s from Florida and has a muscular condition.”

For a least a moment, that condition paled to the smile on the child’s face as he walked down the third baseline with his wish come true.

That night Pedroia delivered the first two-homer game of his career.

We’ll just pause there, and we can think about that.

The up-and-down season of David Ortiz continues. He returned from the recent road trip 2-for-22, but on Tuesday delivered his 23rd home run that tied him with Frank Thomas for the all-time lead in homers as a designated hitter at 269.

Hitting coach Dave Magadan believes Ortiz presses to do too much to help the team when his bat goes south.

“He hits best when he is patient and makes the pitcher come to him. When he tries to do too much, when he has runners on, he chases pitches and gets himself out,” said Magadan.

That is evidenced in Ortiz’s incredibly low .188 batting average with runners in scoring position. Yet, he is on pace for a 90 RBI season.

Shortstop Jed Lowrie is back with the Sox and will be used sparingly, according to manager Terry Francona. Lowrie has gone from starter to viewer with left wrist surgery earlier in the year.

Lowrie has had to learn that playing with pain is part of an MLB season. The Sox sat him down and made the point that the only time a player is going to feel 100 percent is when he retires.

With this season lost, Lowrie will have to earn the job back and part of that will be convincing the Sox he is ready to play when the body is not perfect. The Sox think he has learned that lesson.

The Sox will not catch the Yankees for the division title, so they must hope to hold onto the wild-card spot. If they can do that, they will open on the road in the postseason.

While Fenway has been their heaven, 46-20 at home entering Wednesday night’s game, the Sox are 34-37 on the road. They have a plus- 40 advantage in home runs at home, a plus-five away.

The Sox hit .279 at home and .254 away. Those numbers need to be improved in the final month to boost their chances in the playoffs, if they get there.

The Sox probably would face the Angels again if they do.

Who is the Sox MVP, and maybe the league’s MVP? How about Kevin Youkilis? Witness the numbers: 322 vs. lefthanders, .306 vs. righthanders, .311 at home and on the road, .361 with runners in scoring position, and Gold-Glove play at both first and third.

He is a fierce competitor, and where would the Sox be without him?

bdnsports@bangordailynews.net

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