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Bill Foley (@Foles74)
Contributing Writer

We all had a pretty good idea the 2013 Red Sox were going to be something special by the end of April. Right from the start, the team had quality depth and solid pitching to go along with that certain “it” factor. 

(Associated Press photo)
That was evident in the walk-off win on Patriots’ Day. It was really driven home before the first home game following the marathon bombings when David Ortiz grabbed the microphone and proclaimed “This is our f---in’ city.”

I had a good feeling about the 2013 Red Sox way before that, however. I knew the team was going to bounce back from the last-place finish in 2012 when I saw a single photo move across The Associated Press photo wire the previous October.

The photo showed a pissed off Dustin Pedroia standing next to first baseman James Loney during a pitching change. The second baseman had a season’s worth of dirt on his uniform. You’d think it was Game 7 of the World Series.

Instead, the picture was taken during a 14-2 loss in the Bronx, Boston’s 93rd loss on the last day of the season. Pedroia was giving everything he had to win for a team about to lose its eighth straight game and 12th out of 13.

That photo just screamed out that a Dustin Pedroia-led team would not be down for long.

Pedroia played 141 games for that disaster of a team like his life depended on it. He did the same — despite tearing ligaments in his thumb in the season opener — for 176 of 178 games in 2013.

Of course, a Duck Boat parade followed the 178th game.

Pedroia played just 135 games last season, and he played all of them through an injury, which is a major reason the Red Sox fell back to the cellar of the AL East.

This season Pedroia is healthy again, and it is obviously. His defense has been outstanding even by Pedroia standards, and his bat is back.

Pedroia has played in 14 out of 15 games, and his OPS is .869. More importantly, he is turning on inside pitches like he did when he won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2007 and MVP in 2008. Last night he blasted his fourth home run of the season, putting him way ahead of the pace when he hit seven last year and nine the year before.

Pedroia might not reach his 2011 home run total of 21, and he might not hit .326 like his Silver Slugger season of 2008.

A team with a healthy Dustin Pedroia, though, is going to be a team that wins a lot more than it loses.

Along with a rejuvenated Pedey, this year’s team features quality depth and it has displayed a hint of that certain “it” factor that should make Red Sox fans feel good about the remaining 147 games on the schedule.

The team will bounce back from the last-place finish in 2014, and then some.

Of course, the starting pitching is going to need a major turnaround before we start making plans for a Duck Boat parade.

Bill Foley 4/23/2015 03:25:00 PM Edit
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