August 01, 2006
OK, letting my Yankees fan guard down for a minute, I have to confess this: That sunovabee David Ortiz is everything that I wish a Yankees player could be in terms of coming through in the clutch. He really is amazing.
There, it's said. Now I can go back to disliking him for being a member of the Boston Red Sox.
Update, 8/2/06 - I just saw this in the Boston Globe -
According to Sox historian Allan Wood, webmaster of the Joy of Sox, Ortiz has come to the plate 19 times in potential walkoff situations since the end of the 2004 regular season (postseasons included) and reached base 16 times. He is 11-for-14 (.786), with 7 HR and 20 RBI.
In 2005 and 2006, he is 8-for-9, with 5 HR and 15 RBI!
Posted by Steve Lombardi at August 1, 2006 09:35 AM
Funny that you say that because last night I was half watching the end o' the Sox game (on mute while wifey and I playing chess) and I turned to her and told her that Ortiz would win this for his team as he has so many other times (and of course he did). The thing that I realized, though, was that if they lost Ortiz to injury, I don't believe they would be much more competitive than third place in the AL East. No doubt that Ramirez has done alot, nevertheless,the Sox are really just Ortiz IMHO.
But the reason you can't pitch around Ortiz is Manny. They're a tag team and the real key to the team's success. It's why any idea of the Sox trading or getting rid of Ramirez was laughable. Without Manny, Ortiz would be a nice slugger but probably not an MVP candidate.
With all the proper respect paid to David Ortiz, who has really carried the Red Sox and transformed that franchise in just 3.5 short years, I can't understand teams' pitching strategy when facing him. I know he's good but JEEZ, why do people throw right into his wheelhouse every time? Why not try and throw the ball up and see if he'll chase? Why not throw low and away where lefties just can't do much with it? In last night's situation, with runners on 1st and 2nd and only 1 out, with the slow-running Youkilis at 2B, why not force Ortiz to poke the ball to the opposite field. At worst, he hits a single and perhaps Youkilis will not score. At best, Ortiz fans.
I agree Steve, Ortiz really is something else in the clutch. Why he gets pitched to in those situations is beyond me.
Posted by: Mike A. at August 1, 2006 12:34 PM
Totally agree, MJ. Can somebody please start throwing low and away or high and tight on this guy, PLEASE? What the hell? He's a monster, and AL pitchers insist on putting it on a tee for him, low and inside in the most critical of situations.
Also agree with Johnny C today. Ortiz is excellent, but Manny Ramirez is the best pure hitter I've ever seen to the extent that, with the smoothest of strokes, he can hit lasers off anybody, at anytime, and to any field.
It's puzzling to be sure. But, I think teams make the decision that it's too much to ask pitchers who don't know how to throw inside to throw up and in on Ortiz, which is the best place to attack him. Low and outside is good too but when you make a mistake (and pitchers often do)with a breaking pitch (how many guys can throw a mid-90s fastball on the black at the knees?)it's an 85 mph meatball over the heart of the dish. Pitchers who change speeds well and guys who throw hard inside have the best chance of stopping Ortiz. Not too many of them on ML staffs these days.