Pedroia, Ellsbury know they must work for an edge against Molina

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist

Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox can change games when running the bases. (USATSI)
Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox can change games when running the bases. (USATSI)

BOSTON -- Yadier Molina changes games from behind the plate.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox change games running the bases.

How this matchup goes very well could set the tone for the Cardinals and Red Sox in this 109th World Series.

“He's done things I haven't seen much, ever, behind the plate,” Pedroia says. “He's special.

“We're going to have to work stealing bags, getting secondary leads, going on balls in the dirt.”

Only the Dodgers' A.J. Ellis (.444) had a better caught-stealing percentage than Molina (.435) in the majors this season. Molina threw out 20 of 46 would-be base-stealers.

The Red Sox's 86.6 percent success rate led the majors. They stole 123 bags (fourth in the majors) and were thrown out just 19 times.

“He's very good,” Ellsbury, whose 52 steals led the majors, says. “I've seen his brother [Jose, with the Rays]. We've gone against him a lot of times.

“He's one of the best in the game. But at the same time, we need to do what got us here. We have to be smart on the bases, not push the envelope but at the same time do what we do.”

After Ellsbury, Pedroia and Shane Victorino had 17 steals each. At one point late in the season through Game 4 of the Division Series against the Rays, the Sox were successful on 45 consecutive theft attempts.

Pedroia and Ellsbury both said they had not yet watched a lot of video on Molina, though you can bet they will have seen plenty by the time Game 1 starts Wednesday. The Red Sox worked out late Tuesday afternoon, and Ellsbury and Pedroia each said video sessions breaking down Molina were on the itinerary.

Plus, Ellsbury said, he took a few mental notes during the Cardinals-Dodgers series.

“You watch games as a fan, but at the same time it's normal to analyze things, to pick apart what you're looking for to get an advantage,” Ellsbury said. “Watching them, they're a very good team. They're well-coached, with timely hitting. They're a very good ballclub.”

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