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David Ortiz: ‘I’m about to get hotter than Jamaica in the middle of August’

07.20.14 at 6:44 pm ET
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David Ortiz has played in 2,064 games in his career, and so it qualifies as a surprise when he arrives at a first. But in this case, the milestone was hardly one for which he’ll be seeking out any mementos.

On Sunday, Ortiz went 0-for-5, the 60th time in his career that he’s failed to reach base even once in a game in which he stepped to the plate five or more times. It was the 14th time that he had failed to reach base despite putting the ball in play in each of his at-bats. But the contest — which resulted in a 6-0 Red Sox win over the Royals — represented just the first time in his 17 big league seasons in which Ortiz grounded out every time he stepped into the box in a contest that saw him hit at least five times.

Thus concluded an odd start to the second segment of the season. Ortiz made contact in every trip to the plate during the three-game set — no walks, no strikeouts — but the contact he made was of an atypical sort. He went 1-for-13 in the three game series against the Royals, and made hard contact just twice — on a double to right and a flyout near the warning track in center. That aside, he had eight groundouts and three weak pop-ups.

“I think David’s in one of those little stretches right now, I think we witnessed one earlier in the season, he’s trying to get some things going. He’s been offering at some pitches early in the count, which might not be characteristic,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “But as he’s gone through these stretches, we’re confident he’ll be back as the hitter we know.”

Ortiz suggested that he hadn’t regained his timing at the plate following the four days of rest around the All-Star break (something to which he’s somewhat unaccustomed given his participation in nine of 10 years from 2004-13.

“I feel like that All-Star break, having those four days didn’t help me,” said Ortiz. “Physically they helped me, but timing-wise, I feel a little off.”

Of course, a case can be made that Ortiz’s struggle predates the All-Star break. After all, dating to May 16 (after Ortiz left Target Field following a series in which he destroyed the ball), the slugger is hitting .210 with a .317 OBP and .395 slugging mark (albeit with nine homers and an equal amount of walks (32) and strikeouts).

For much of June and early July, Ortiz’s struggles reverberated through a thumpless Red Sox lineup. For now, however, Ortiz is taking solace in the idea that the Sox managed to sweep the three-game series and score 13 runs (4.3 per game — unimpressive, but better than the team’s season-long average) despite his struggles.

“I haven’t done [anything] this series but we end up sweeping it. That’s good. That’s a good sign. Because you know I’ll be back,” said Ortiz. “My timing’s a little off. But I’m about to get hotter than Jamaica in the middle of August.”

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