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The Red Sox Need Dustin Pedroia

On June 24, Dustin Pedroia collected five hits including three home runs, every single one of them needed to power the Red Sox past the Rockies for a 13-11 win. The win tied the Sox with the Tampa Bay Rays for the wild card, and put them just two back of the Yankees. Not the pinnacle of the Red Sox' season to date, but close to it.

The next day, he fouled a ball off of his foot, and left the game with a fracture, missing the last 45 games before being activated from the disabled list today.

Since that date, the Red Sox are 23-22, dropping them over five games back of both the division and the wild card.

After scoring 410 runs in their first 74 games, the Sox have managed only 200 since--a difference in pace of nearly 200 runs over the course of an entire season. Defensively, things haven't exactly been up-to-snuff either, with the difference between Bill Hall and Dustin Pedroia being worth about seven runs over the course of 45 games.

While the combination of Hall and Lowrie has been getting the job done offensively for the most part, where the Sox are really hurt is at shortstop. Marco Scutaro, playing all year with a dead muscle injury, has been afforded almost no time off since the beginning of the season. Jed Lowrie's return should have changed all that, but instead he's spent most of his time manning second for the injured Pedroia. No surprise then, that Scutaro has gotten progressively worse as the season has gone on, culminating in an awful August where he probably would have been just as if not more valuable to the Sox on the disabled list himself.

If the Sox had had Pedroia this whole time, who knows how things would've gone down. A rested Scutaro continues to play a role as the leadoff man? The added defense and offense helps save some of the eight one-run losses the Sox have suffered since he left that game against the Giants (itself a 4-5 loss for the Sox)? Maybe even some of the two runners? I mean, Eric Patterson has played 29 games for this team. That doesn't happen if Dustin Pedroia doesn't go down.

There's no denying the difference that Dustin Pedroia can and has made for this team over the last few years. The only question now is if there's any time left for him to work with.