EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


September 28, 2008

The New Dirt Dogs

Youkilis, Pedroia get it done the old-fashioned way

BOSTON — It has been an eventful Boston Red Sox season, which, of course, is pretty much par for the course.

The world champions' defense of their crown started with Curt Schilling's dead arm and his disagreement with the Red Sox team doctors' diagnosis before spring training even started.

Along the way, came the pain-in-the-neck trip to Japan at the start of the season, followed by David Ortiz's "clicking" left wrist, Josh Beckett's ailing right elbow, Jacoby Ellsbury's and Hideki Okajima's sophomore slumps, Mike Lowell's achy hip and oblique muscle, J.D. Drew's usual summer respite/injury woes and, last but definitely not least, Manny Ramirez having one too many "Manny Being Manny" episodes.

That's a lot of bad stuff, the kind of "stuff" that will end the New York Yankees' season today, right here at Fenway Park.

But here we are, on the final day of the regular season, and the Red Sox have a morning flight for Anaheim for playoff baseball.

Two things have remained constant, almost from the opening pitch in Tokyo on March 25.

Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis, the newest Dirt Dogs.

That term began in 2001 with Brian Daubach and Trot Nixon ... and these two are worthy successors.

Gritty, tough, overachieving, gamers, name the term and it applies.

"We talk about the Ortizes and the Becketts all of the time, because of their importance on this team — and don't get me wrong, those two guys are horses," said Red Sox backup first baseman Sean Casey. "But I can pretty much guarantee that we wouldn't be on a plane to Anaheim if it wasn't for Youk and Peedy (Pedroia). They're amazing, man. Every day, every game you can count on those guys."

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