|David Ortiz: Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia are ‘ridiculous’||07.28.11 at 12:39 am ET|
David Ortiz has seen a lot in his nine years in Boston. Two World Series titles, Manny being Manny and walk-off win after walk-off win, some he even was responsible for.
But he’s never seen what Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia are doing to opposing pitchers right now during one of the most awesome offensive displays in team history.
The Red Sox are 18-4 in July and 62-28 since starting the season 2-10 and Ortiz said after Wednesday’s 12-5 laugher over the Royals at Fenway that the top two men in the order are the biggest reason why.
“I think Ellsbury and Pedroia, they’re making it tougher on everyone else. What they’re doing at the top of the lineup, it’s ridiculous. You don’t get that on a daily basis from the first and second-hole hitter. They’re putting so much pressure on the pitcher. I’m sure that gets you out of control a little bit.”
Ortiz belted his 10th career grand slam in the five-run fourth, giving him nine slams with the Red Sox. That matches Rico Petrocelli for second all-time in team history, behind the 17 of Ted Williams. It also gave him exactly 1,000 RBIs with the Red Sox.
“I’ve been here, this is what, my ninth year here?” Ortiz asked rhetorically. “When your name gets in the mix with guys that played here their whole career, it’s a compliment. It’s something that you don’t think about it right now while you’re playing. You kind of sit down and say, well, I did OK while I was there.”
To manager Terry Francona, the Ortiz homer really put some separation in the game. But like Ortiz, Francona thought the two homers by Ellsbury and Pedroia to open the game were huge as the Royals got three quick runs off John Lackey in the first.
“We get the two home runs and it’s like, ‘We’ve got a long way to go and we’re OK.’ When Ells and Pedey together are hot, that’s a really good combination,” Francona said in echoing Ortiz.
Ortiz did poke fun at Pedroia before giving him his props by saying he’s seen Pedroia – the man who extended his hitting streak to 24 games with a solo homer in the first – do this before.
“Um, I have seen that before. when the Muddy Chicken gets hot, look out. Laser Show,” Ortiz smiled.
But even when the Red Sox had Pedroia putting up big numbers in 2007 and his MVP season in 2008, never did they have a leadoff hitter like Ellsbury approaching 20 homers and an MVP and AL batting champ candidate hitting behind him. Then it’s Kevin Youkilis, then it’s Ortiz and then Carl Crawford.
“It’s fun, it’s fun, especially going through what we went through at the beginning of the season when things got a little shaky and everybody was running out of patience,” Ortiz said. “That’s when my boys come through and let people know that it’s just the beginning, so, chill-ax.”
So, is Ortiz worried about the trading deadline and what pieces may be added?
“Have you heard anything about me?” Ortiz asked. “No? I think our owners and our front office, our GM, they do a pretty good job when it comes down to that. That’s why we don’t even worry about it. they always try and go ahead and get what we need at the time in years before. They do a pretty good job about it. I’m pretty sure that whatever they think we need right now, they’re pretty much chasing it right now.
“Yeah man, winning is something that we expect every day. That’s why we get ready to play every day. even the guys coming up, they get that feeling when they walk into this clubhouse. They know this is a winning ballclub and everybody around here gets prepared to play and to win games. You know, you can see it around here. When we lose a game, it’s like the end of the world because we’re ready to win games and play the game the way it’s supposed to be. It’s a good feeling when you win games.”
Is this the best lineup he’s been a part of in Boston?
“Man, you guys are pushing me hard,” Ortiz said. “I’m about to say, yes, man. I don’t want to say it too early. We still have two months left. But man, I’m telling you, what I’m seeing from head to toe, it’s what you really want to be part of.”
And Ortiz has responded with his best season since he hit .332 with 37 homers and drove in 117 runs in 2007. The latest proof of his revitalization came when he drilled a 3-1 slider from Bruce Chen over 400 feet to the bleachers behind the bullpens for his 10th career grand slam. Ortiz is batting 305 with 20 homers and 68 RBIs. Ortiz drove in four, and with his five from Tuesday, he has nine in the last two games. That’s the first time he’s driven in at least four in back-to-back games since Sept. 9-10, 2005.
The key? Keeping in a rhythm, despite missing games due to interleague play, the three-game suspension in Baltimore and the All-Star break.
“I’ve been playing good,” Ortiz explained. “I’ve been feeling good. We have a lot of ups and downs. I’ve been having, especially this past month, a lot of issues with playing time things, interleague, All- Star game, suspension, other stuff. That’s a lot of games you walk away from. To tell you the truth, I’m not ready for that. I’m ready to play every day. not too much you can do about it. I just try to use my head and whatever I know to get to the point I want to be, I keep on trying.
“I try to be selective, no matter what. Pitchers aren’t trying to walk you in that situation, but they also don’t want to give you four runs. They always try not to make a mistake and you have to be ready.”
And just chillax from there.
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