NEW YORK -- At least one player in Tuesday’s All-Star Game will be giving 100 percent out there on the Citi Field diamond, despite it being an exhibition game.
“It means a lot,” Dustin Pedroia said Monday. “Just look at our team. If we’re in the World Series (and the American League loses Tuesday), we play another game in the National League park. We lose our best hitter, we lose David Ortiz for that day -- or he has to play first base, which he hasn’t done all year. The game means a lot.”
Pedroia has reason to be thinking about the World Series. The Red Sox have the best record in the American League at the break (58-39).
The National League has won the last three All-Star Games -- and the last three World Series. Coincidence? Maybe not.
Pedroia does not sound surprised about his team’s great start, despite the fact that the Red Sox have overachieved in the eyes of many after finishing in last place (69-93) a year ago.
“Just play better,” Pedroia said of the team’s goal in spring training. “We’ve pitched really well. We’ve swung the bats great. Everyone’s been consistent. It’s been a team effort.”
He likes the chemistry of his club as well.
“We like playing the game,” Pedroia said. “It’s been fun. It’s fun when you’re winning. That’s our main focus, coming out and trying to win ballgames. It’s been a great group of guys.”
Pedroia is batting .316 on the season (fifth in the American League), with six home runs and 56 runs batted in. He is one of three second basemen on the AL roster, along with starter Robinson Cano (.302, 21 HRs, 65 RBIs) of the New York Yankees and Jason Kipnis (.301, 13 HRs, 57 RBIs) of the Cleveland Indians.
“It’s an honor to be here,” Pedroia said. “There’s a lot of great second basemen in the American League, so definitely excited to be here and help out in any way I can.”
This is the 29-year-old’s fourth All-Star Game, but his first since making the team three years in a row from 2008-2010.
Pedroia was asked if he appreciates the nod a little more this time around, after a couple of years away from the Midsummer Classic.
“I don’t really think about it,” Pedroia said. “I focus every day on trying to help us win games. Try to play well every day. If I make the All-Star team, it’s an honor, I’m really excited. If I don’t, I’m just trying to help the Red Sox win games. That’s all I’m trying to do.”