|Mike Aviles, Cody Ross and Daniel Nava are making David Ortiz really dangerous||06.21.12 at 12:18 am ET|
There’s no disputing the fact that David Ortiz is having another prodigious offensive year.
He’s leading the Red Sox offense.
But the most encouraging sign for the team might be found in those around him in the batting order and just how much they’re taking advantage of his production.
Mike Aviles homered Wednesday night, a three-run blast to left that gave the Red Sox the lead for good in the second inning.
One inning later, Cody Ross connected for a three-run double that put the Red Sox up, 6-2.
“I’ve watched a number of games on TV when I was in the other league and the Red Sox were on,” Ross said. “Especially last year, they led every category in baseball, offensively. It just looked like a lot of fun. Now I’m here and I’m part of it and getting to enjoy it and reap the rewards. Guys are just getting on base left and right, it seems like. We’re coming up with big hits, just Red Sox baseball.”
The Red Sox have scored 29 runs in their last three games, including a season-high 15 runs in Wednesday’s 15-5 romp over the Marlins.
“Everyone knows that we have a pretty good offense,” Aviles said. “We scuffled for a little bit but it seems everything is going back to the way we’ve been. Everything is clicking and we’re just getting everything on the same wavelength and it’s helping.
“I was just looking for a pitch I can drive. There were two outs and if Salty doesn’t hustle to second base on Youkilis’ ball, the inning is over. I want to say that because I know that’s going to be overlooked. Just because he ran hard gave me a chance to hit.”
Aviles brought up the old cliche about hitting in a lineup being contagious. With Ortiz heating up with three homers in three games, Aviles and the Red Sox want to spread the winning germ right now.
“Hitting is definitely contagious, and so is winning,” Aviles said. “Absolutely. Anytime you get a couple of wins together, you get that good confidence rolling, and that’s where we’re at now.”
What’s starting to happen is what’s been happening around Fenway every year since Ortiz became a full-time force in the lineup in the middle of 2003. Everyone is getting hot at the same time.
Daniel Nava had four hits Wednesday and raised his average to .333 in 34 games. That 102 at-bats. Not insignificant.
“He’s contributed since Day 1,” Ross said. “I was telling somebody the other day I still haven’t seen him give up an at-bat. And that’s one of the main reasons we’re playing well. He’s contributed and come up and done an outstanding job. He deserves a lot of credit.”
Even Kevin Youkilis got into the act, collecting a single and a double to raise his average to .225. Of course, on his double in the sixth, pinch-runner Will Middlebrooks came into the game. In his only at-bat in the eighth, he launched a laser of a two-run homer to left.
Middlebrooks had done a lot to blend in with the likes of Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and Ortiz already. He’s got seven homers and 27 RBIs in 37 games, and by the way, he’s batting .303 in his first big-league experience.
“It’s fun but it’s a business, too,” Middlebrooks said of watching the offense up close. “When you’re here, winning is very important. In the minor leagues, it’s more individual development. You have guys like Pedey and Adrian and “Big Papi”, you want to blend in and you want to be able to help; just watching those guys go about their business and pick up little things they do.”
You got the feeling watching the Red Sox over the last two days at Fenway, they’re ready to break out like they do every summer in the last 10 seasons.
But this year’s Red Sox have a bit of ground to make up. The offensive display they put up on Wednesday showed – as a group – they’re ready for the challenge.
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