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David Ortiz sets another record (sort of): slowest home run trot

04.10.14 at 9:03 am ET
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The internet has given us a bevy of fantastic resources when it comes to turning baseball inside-out. One of them just happens to be Tater Trot Tracker, which offers the times for each day’s home run trots.

It’s a website that allowed us to measure Carlos Gomez‘s sprint around the bases Saturday night (17.66 seconds), which was the game’s second fastest of the season, only trailing Gomez’s April 1 homer (16.18 seconds).

Well, now, thanks to the diligence of the site’s founder, Larry Granillo, we have learned that David Ortiz made history with his three-run blast Wednesday afternoon.

According to Granillo, Ortiz’s time of 32.91 around the bases was the slowest trot recorded by the site since its inception in 2008. The Sox designated hitter narrowly out-paced the previous mark of 31.56 seconds, set by Bobby Abreu.

It isn’t the first time Ortiz has held the honor. In ’10 he became the first player to take more than half a minute to round the bases after hitting a homer.

Read More: David Ortiz,

Replacing Jacoby Ellsbury in leadoff spot hasn’t been easy for Red Sox

04.10.14 at 8:37 am ET
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Daniel Nava

Daniel Nava

The Red Sox have stated the primary goal for their leadoff men is to get on base. Plain and simple. The thinking is that you have to get on base in order score runs.

It just so happened that Jacoby Ellsbury — the guy who used to lead off for the Red Sox and now plays for the Yankees — did both of those things, along with stealing a bunch of bases.

Well, thus far this season, the Red Sox‘ replacements for Ellsbury at the top of the order haven’t gotten on base a whole bunch, have scored just four runs, and haven’t even attempted a stolen base.

Daniel Nava has hit in the top spot a team-high five times, going 3-for-20 with a walk and two runs.

Jonny Gomes has hit in the leadoff spot in three games, managing two hits in nine at-bats with three walks and one run scored.

Grady Sizemore has gotten the chance to lead off once, going 0-for-4 with a walk while scoring a run.

Red Sox leadoff hitters carry the third-worst OPS (.539) in the majors, hitting a combined .176. On the bright side, they are seeing the third-most pitches per plate appearance of any group of leadoff men in the game (4.38).

So, what has Ellsbury meant to his new team? The center fielder has been moved to the third spot in the batting order, with Brett Gardner sliding up. But in his four games leading off, Ellsbury went 6-for-16 (.375) with three walks, three runs and three steals.

Gardner has been almost as good in his five games leading off, hitting .300 (6-for-20) with three walks and two runs while seeing 4.39 pitches per plate appearance.

What to do? Your thoughts …

Who should get the majority of opportunities to leadoff for the Red Sox?

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Read More: Brett Gardner, daniel nava, grady sizemore, Jacoby Ellsbury

Despite no-decision, Peavy’s strong outing propels Sox to series victory

04.09.14 at 9:40 pm ET
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David Ortiz‘€™s clutch home run in the bottom of the eighth obviously was the turning point in Wednesday’€™s series finale vs. the Rangers, but Jake Peavy‘€™s dominant start set the stage for Ortiz’€™s heroics.

Jake Peavy fanned eight on Wednesday, tied for his most strikeouts for the Red Sox. (AP)

Jake Peavy fanned eight on Wednesday, tied for his most strikeouts for the Red Sox. (AP)

The righty went 6 2/3 strong innings, with a home run to Mitch Moreland in the top of the seventh inning standing as the only blemish on Peavy’€™s impressive outing. He fanned eight batters, which ties for his most K’€™s in a Red Sox uniform, a feat he also accomplished last Sept. 18 against the Orioles. Though he did issue four walks, Peavy held a powerful Texas offense to just three hits and a run.

“€œI thought he did a phenomenal job,” catcher David Ross said. “We needed an outing like that. When you’€™re trying to get away and salvage the series and you’ve got a guy like Jake Peavy taking the mound and doing that for us, it’€™s big. He kept us in the ball game and in the lead there for a while, so kudos to him.”

Peavy’€™s outing didn’t start off on the most promising of notes, with Shin-Soo Choo bashing the first offering to center field for a double. Peavy worked around the leadoff hit and stranded Choo on third. He then cruised until the seventh, racking up eight swings and misses (including five on the curveball) and fanning eight. He was able to stifle some of the Rangers’ big bats, including Prince Fielder (0-for-3 against Peavy, 0-for-4 on the evening) and Alex Rios (0-for-2 with a walk). Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: David Ross, jake peavy,

Through 17 years, two names and three teams, A.J. Pierzynski has seen this before from David Ortiz

04.09.14 at 8:52 pm ET
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Perhaps it’s overstating it to say A.J. Pierzynski expected David Ortiz to drive a rocket about 100 feet beyond the fence in right field in the eighth inning Wednesday for the game-winning three-run homer in a 4-2 win over the Rangers. But certainly it’s safe to say he wasn’t surprised. After all, Pierzynski has seen this sort of thing for the better part of two decades, dating to when Ortiz — then known as David Arias — was an up-and-coming slugger for the Mariners‘ affiliate in the Single-A Midwest League and Pierzynski opposed him with the Twins’ Midwest League team in Fort Wayne in 1996.

After that season, the M’s traded “Arias” to the Twins as a player to be named for Dave Hollins. After he moved between organizations, Ortiz revealed two things to the Twins — first, that his listed date of birth (February 18, 1975) was inaccurate, and that he had been born on Nov. 18, 1975, and secondly, that despite the fact that his full given name is David Americo Ortiz Arias (with Arias being his mother’s maiden name), he went by the name of David Ortiz.

Pierzynski was unfamiliar with those details. But he knew what he saw immediately in early 1997, when he and Ortiz were teammates with the High-A Fort Myers Miracle.

“My first game I ever played with David, or one of my first, in ’97, when he first came over, we were playing maybe Port Charlotte, the Rangers,” Pierzynski related Wednesday after the fourth win of the season. “Ninth inning, they brought in a lefty, and he hit a walkoff homer to left field. And I had known, playing against him the year before, I was in Fort Wayne and he was in Appleton, and I said, ‘Man, this guy can hit a little bit.’ Then we traded got him and I was like, ‘Man, we got this Arias guy.’ And then we he came over, he was Ortiz, and I said, ‘Man, I think we traded for the wrong guy!’ It was the same guy.”

Indeed it was. And in many ways, Ortiz remains the same guy even now, 17 years later, with Pierzynski reunited in Boston with his former Twins teammate. Not much has changed in the interim.

Wednesday was just another in seemingly countless big moments where the game turned on one of his at-bats late. His three-run homer traveled some 100 feet beyond the Pesky Pole in right and was the 24th career go-ahead homer in the eighth inning or later, his last also coming against the Rangers on June 6 last year.

“David’s special,” Pierzynski said. “He loves the big moment. He lives for the big moment. We saw it again today. Through his ups and downs, whatever it is, David wants to be up there and he’s always wanted that. I’ve known him for 20 years and he’s always wanted to be the guy at bat in those situations.”

Read More: A.J. Pierzynski, Boston Red Sox, David Americo Ortiz Arias, David Ortiz

Closing Time: David Ortiz’s late heroics allow Red Sox to salvage series win vs. Rangers

04.09.14 at 7:06 pm ET
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David Ortiz launched a game-winning homer in the eighth inning. (AP)

David Ortiz launched a game-winning homer in the eighth inning. (AP)

The Red Sox appeared primed for another home contest in which a listless lineup spelled their undoing and spoiled a strong performance by the rotation. But in the bottom of the eighth, the team rallied with a walk by Jackie Bradley Jr. and a single by A.J. Pierzynski that put runners on first and second for the heart of the order.

Dustin Pedroia laced a hard grounder to Elvis Andrus, but the Rangers shortstop rushed it. He still managed to get a force play, but the Sox thus had one out with runners on the corners rather than two outs and a runner on third. In the latter scenario, perhaps the Rangers would have pitched around David Ortiz with an open base. As it was, they brought in left-hander Neal Cotts — against whom Ortiz was 0-for-5 in his career with five strikeouts — to face the Red Sox DH.

Ortiz flipped the script, taking a pair of sliders (one a ball, one a strike) before unloading on an 89 mph meatball down the middle. He crushed it, sending an arcing shot that went well beyond the Pesky Pole, with the only questions being whether the blast was fair or foul. First base ump Jerry Meals gave an emphatic signal that it crossed the pole in play, a three-run homer that gave the Sox a 4-2 victory and allowed them to salvage a series victory over the Rangers. The Sox to head to New York having won two of the three series they’ve played this year.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX Read the rest of this entry »

Shane Victorino takes first steps back from ‘frustrating’ season-opening stint on the disabled list

04.09.14 at 5:04 pm ET
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Shane Victorino has been doing little chest-thumping since being afflicted with the flu. (AP)

Shane Victorino has been doing little chest-thumping since being afflicted with the flu. (AP)

The start of the 2014 season has been unkind to Shane Victorino.

The outfielder thought he had timed his recovery from a variety of afflications — offseason thumb surgery, core strengthening, then soreness in his left side — at a pace that had him ready for Opening Day. But then, in the final game of the spring, hours before the Red Sox broke camp from Fort Myers, he suffered a hamstring strain. He flew with the team to Baltimore, but the next day, he had to jump on a subsequent flight to Boston for an MRI that revealed a Grade 1 hamstring strain and an Opening Day placement on the DL. He flew back down to Baltimore in hopes of at least being with the team for the Opening Day introductions and the visit to the White House.

On that return flight, however, Victorino came down with a brutal case of the flu that left him bedridden for most of the week, unable to take part in Opening Day or the White House reception at which President Barack Obama saluted Victorino, his fellow native of Hawaii. He was bedridden and quarantined from his teammates, and didn’t even have the energy to watch the visit on TV.

“I didn’t get to see it. Those first three or four days was awful. Other than the energy to watch the game, that was all I had in me,” Victorino, who dropped 8-12 pounds during the illness, grimaced. “It was brutal. I wish this upon nobody, I’ll put it that way. I don’t want nobody to have the flu I had.” Read the rest of this entry »

Red Sox vs. Rangers Wednesday afternoon live blog

04.09.14 at 3:45 pm ET
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The Red Sox will try to salvage a series against the Rangers at Fenway Park before they hit the road for their first encounter of the series with the Yankees. For the latest news, analysis and updates from the pressbox, join the live blog below:

 

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