NEW YORK -- There comes a point where a player can go from hot to red-hot to white-hot. At some point, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia made the crossover, and opponents are paying a steep price.
Consider that over Pedroia's past 16 games entering Saturday, he was hitting an even .500, with 35 hits in 70 at-bats. Perhaps even more impressive was the right-handed hitter's 21-game stretch, which included a .473 average, five homers, seven doubles, 10 RBIs and 20 runs.
Through it all, Pedroia continues to downplay his individual accomplishments.
"I'm not really affected by how I'm doing, I'm just trying to help our team win," said Pedroia. "I just show up to the yard, work hard, play as hard as I can."
The one thing Pedroia was always known for whether it was in college or in the Minor Leagues was his uncanny ability to consistently hit the ball right on the barrel of the bat. It is something that has transferred right into his first two full seasons in the Major Leagues.
A year ago, Pedroia was the American League Rookie of the Year. Could his sophomore season end with a batting title?
Despite having an average of .260 on June 13, Pedroia took a .311 average with him into Saturday's game at Yankee Stadium. Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler currently leads the American League with a .325 average.
"I think you have times in the year where you don't hit the ball good and you have times in the year where you hit the ball great," Pedroia said. "It's just one of those times where I've gotten a lot of hits in a short amount of time. There's really nothing to it. I do the same thing every day in the cage and my batting practice and stuff like that. It's not like I've changed anything or done anything different. I've still had the same approach. In the last couple of weeks, I've just gotten a lot of hits."
The Red Sox have enjoyed watching them.
"I hope it lasts for three months," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "I think that Petey's got an uncanny ability to kind of square the ball up. He always has. Everyone talked about it when he got drafted."
Pedroia claimed he was unaware of being a .500 hitter over the last couple of weeks.
"I had a couple of four-hit games, so that's probably helped it," Pedroia said. "But I don't know, I just try to get on base and score runs for the guys behind me. To be honest with you, I didn't even know that. It is what it is. Who cares? I don't really care, man. I'm just trying to win."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.