|David Price says David Ortiz isn’t same hitter: ‘If he was he’d be [at All-Star Game] right now’||07.14.15 at 5:13 pm ET|
Asked by WEEI.com prior to Tuesday’s All-Star Game if he thought Ortiz was the same hitter as he once was, Price didn’t hesitate.
“No, he’s not. He’s just different,” Price said. “If he was he’d be here right now.”
Price also said Ortiz did not reach out to him following last year’s incident. He said he doesn’t have a problem with Ortiz, though.
Another player in the American League clubhouse had a different take on Ortiz.
Albert Pujols of the Angels was asked what he thought of people saying Ortiz was “washed up” or nearing the end of his career.
“That’s what they said last year and he hit over 30 homers,” Pujols said. “Those are the critics and those are the people that need to go away and don’t watch any games.”
“He’s great. He’s one of the ambassadors of this game,” he added. “He’s been pretty much a face of the game. Great man, great friend of mine and a lot of things I have learned from him.”
Ortiz is batting .231 with 15 home runs and 43 RBIs at the All-Star break.
|Red Sox pregame notes: When will Dustin Pedroia return? Mike Napoli with ‘an opportunity to get back on track’||07.10.15 at 4:52 pm ET|
Friday was the first day Dustin Pedroia was eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain suffered on June 25, but his return will need to wait.
The second baseman ran the bases for the first time since the injury Friday, but still the team and Pedroia weren’t ready to make a move to activate him yet.
“I don’t have the exact percentage of the intensity, but it is the first day that he has run he bases,” manager John Farrell said. “Baseball activity continues to improve. Not active today. Obviously we’re getting to that point, what’s the risk-reward — the potential four additional days of recovery, so no roster move today.”
Farrell was asked about a possible rehab assignment if he were to miss the entire weekend series, but the manager didn’t want to go there.
“We haven’t approached that yet,” he said. “We’re looking at Pedey’s heath and well-being first. Again, he’ll be on the field as soon as he’s available.”
If Pedroia doesn’t return this weekend, his first game back would be July 17 against the Angels — just over three weeks since the injury occurred.
Mike Napoli is back in the Red Sox lineup for the first time since last Saturday. The first baseman has missed the last three games trying to get back on track at the plate, as he’s hitting .192 on the season and is 0 for his last 9 and 2 for his last 27.
Napoli did a lot of work with hitting coach Chili Davis over the last week.
“A week of work,” Farrell said. “We gave him a little bit of a blow as we know with the two off days and the two days down against Miami and at some point we knew there was going to be a need to get him back into game after the work and gaining some confidence through that work. Tonight is a chance for that.
“His production has been clear. Yeah, there’s been streakiness, there’s been a stretch of time that he’s been challenged of late, but when you look at the big picture, we’re going to need his production and tonight is an opportunity to get back on track.”
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
|David Ortiz: ‘I’m too old’ to play first base||07.09.15 at 12:14 am ET|
Without Mike Napoli‘s presence in the lineup, the Red Sox have had to make adjustments, both at the plate and in the field. One of these adjustments isn’t a popular one for a certain nine-time All-Star.
“I’ve got to keep on playing first base?” David Ortiz asked after Wednesday night’s game. “Damn. I don’t know if that’s going to happen.”
When asked if he wants to keep up his new role as a position player, Ortiz offered an especially candid response.
The 39-year-old doesn’t look as comfortable in the field as he once did. For his career, Ortiz has racked up a more than respectable .990 career fielding percentage. But now, Ortiz looks increasingly uncomfortable in this role, resorting to icing his ankles while awaiting his turn to bat in Wednesday’s win over the Marlins.
“I’m too old for that man,” Ortiz said. “I like doing my focusing on hitting. I haven’t played first base in too long and I know that these past couple of days, they want to make the lineup look different or whatever, but I know my boy [Napoli] is going to bounce back and do what he normally does. It’s just a matter of time.”
|Closing Time: David Ortiz, Rick Porcello lead Red Sox over Marlins for 4th straight win||07.08.15 at 9:51 pm ET|
After 86 games, the Red Sox did something for the first time all season — win four games in a row.
Led by a four-run third inning, the Red Sox beat the Marlins 6-3, taking both games of the two-game series. With the win, they became the last team to put together a four-game win streak in the majors this season. Overall, they have won nine of their last 12 games.
The four second inning runs came courtesy of an error by starter Tom Koehler as all four runs were unearned. Ryan Hanigan worked a one-out walk and then Mookie Betts reached on the error as Koehler air mailed his throw to first base.
Brock Holt drove Hanigan in with an RBI groundout followed by an RBI infield single from Xander Bogaerts. The big blow came from the next batter, David Ortiz, as he crushed a homer over the Green Monster — his second opposite field homer of the year.
“He’s been swinging the bat well and better swings against left-handers,” manager John Farrell said. “It’s good to see him drive the ball out of the ballpark the other way. He gets a breaking ball from Koehler and then the line drive ground rule double. There was a lot of hard contact from him tonight. Solid outing for him.”
The biggest story coming into the game was Rick Porcello and his 6.08 ERA, but the right-hander bounced back from his seven runs in two innings last week in Toronto. He went six innings allowing two runs on eight hits, while walking one and striking out four.
Porcello once again had trouble in a “shutdown” inning, as after the Red Sox scored the four runs in the third, the right-hander allowed two runs in the top of the fourth. The Marlins recorded five straight hits in the inning, but thanks to a nice defensive play by himself on the mound with the bases loaded, he was able to escape further damage.
The right-hander picked up his first win since May 16.
|John Farrell: ‘We’re not turning from Mike [Napoli]’||at 5:56 pm ET|
Napoli is hitting just .192 on the year with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs. The righty is striking out at a 26.1 percent rate, surprisingly his best mark since 2011. But, he is walking less (12.4 percent walk rate) and his HR/FB ratio has dropped to 11.4 percent from 19.8 percent in 2012. To make matters worse, Napoli is 2-for-27 over his last nine games, prompting Farrell to use regular designated hitter David Ortiz at first base for the second time in three games as a way to give Napoli time to get back on track.
“I think it’s important to note that we’re not turning from Mike [Napoli],” Farrell said. “Nap has been big in some stretches of time here, some prolonged stretches. Right now, he’s on the other side of that and he’s working and doing what he can do to get through it. Ultimately [he] will need opportunities to see that work play out, and that’ll be upcoming. But right now, the focus is day-to-day of what is tonight’s best chance for us to score runs and be on the right side of the scoreboard.”
Farrell continued to say that with each passing day in the cage and work with hitting coach Chili Davis, Napoli‘s belief in himself increases.
“He’s gaining confidence through the work that he’s putting in,” Farrell added. “That’ll be brought further along by some success inside of a game or at least some hard contact. There are those work days to build that initial confidence to get him going.”
Napoli’s issues, combined with an off day on Thursday, allow Farrell to send Ortiz out to first base once again Wednesday night. In Ortiz’ first start in the field since the interleague series on the road against the Braves on June 18, he went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts, but did not have to record a putout in a 5-4 Red Sox come-from-behind win over the Astros on Sunday. It was the first time in the Red Sox‘ 17,867-game history that a putout was not recorded at first base.
“The focus with David [Ortiz] at first is today only,” Farrell said. “The approach with that is more day-to-day [based] on his availability.”
Other than Ortiz manning first, the Red Sox have a couple other options including, but not limited to Travis Shaw, who picked up his first three big league hits Tuesday, and Brock Holt, the All-Star utility man who has logged 14 games at first base over the past two seasons.
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
Manager John Farrell made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show on Wednesday before Game 2 of the Red Sox‘ series with the Marlins. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
David Ortiz will get another look at first base on Wednesday night, allowing Farrell to have Hanley Ramirez DH while Alejandro De Aza plays left field. Otherwise, the rest of the lineup remains the same.
With an off day scheduled for Thursday, Wednesday is the perfect time for Ortiz to play first base.
“You’ve got to keep that in mind and how does he come out of those days, so the day off following gives him a physical day of recovery,” Farrell said. “This isn’t a 22-year-old we’re talking about that bounced back quickly, so that’s not to put anything on David, that’s just to say these are the facts and we’ve got to work through it … This is all about keeping everybody in a rotation and involved as well.”
Being able to plan this way from game-to-game has been a large part of the team’s recent success. With a 7-3 record in their last 10 games, the Red Sox are making their way back into the thick of the race in the division. Farrell said part of his squad’s progress comes from a different energy than it had exhibited previously in the season and an ability to come back from deficits within a game.
“The belief has never left our group,” he said. “Granted, our record doesn’t reflect the expectation that we have internally. We’re getting in that direction, but I think some guys have come back to us. Alejandro De Aza has added something to our roster, a proven guy. But I think more importantly when you point to our team’s success, you look at the younger players and how they’ve really stepped forward. Whether it’s Mookie [Betts], [Xander Bogaerts], Brock [Holt], those three guys in particular. The addition of Eduardo Rodriguez has given us quality outings almost each time he’s walked to the mound, so there’s been a number of factors, a number of ingredients that have come into it.
“But then all of a sudden you start to catch a little fire, you start to win,” Farrell continued. “I think somebody mentioned to me last night we’d forced the opposition to blow four saves in the first 81 games, and then there’s been four consecutive, so there’s been a turn of the tides so to speak, but I think it’s the growing belief within our clubhouse.”
After Sunday’s 5-4 win over the Astros with David Ortiz playing first base, the Red Sox will have the alignment once again Wednesday against the Marlins in the second game of a two-game set.
With Ortiz at first base, Hanley Ramirez will serve as the designated hitter. Alejandro De Aza will play left field and Shane Victorino will play right field as the Red Sox go against Marlins righty Tom Koehler.
Mike Napoli remains out for a third straight game as he continues to work on his issues at the plate.
Ryan Hanigan will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello.
For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.
Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:
Mookie Betts, CF
Brock Holt, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, 1B
Hanley Ramirez, DH
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Shane Victorino, RF
Alejandro De Aza, LF
Ryan Hanigan, C
Rick Porcello, RHP
|Red Sox-Marlins series preview||07.07.15 at 8:42 am ET|
The Red Sox are reaching a critical point in their season going into their series with the Marlins. Winners of six of their last eight, the Red Sox are 39-45, but just six games out of first place in the AL East. A two-game sweep of the Marlins could prompt a buying mentality leading up to the trade deadline. Meanwhile, two losses could spell the white flag.
Coming off of three consecutive series wins, including a crucial two-of-three over the AL-leading Astros, the Red Sox appear to be right on the cusp of contention in the division. And with a three-game set against the first-place Yankees on the horizon, the Sox have the potential to make a huge leap before the All-Star break.
“It’s good, man,” David Ortiz said after 12-6 drubbing of the Blue Jays last Thursday. “We haven’t been able to play consistently good, you know? If we finish the first half of the season playing the way we have lately, it’ll give you hope for the second half, especially when you’re in a division where there’s not too many games apart. We played the worst the first couple months of the season and we’re still six, seven games away. If we start playing better, it’ll give you hope.”
The Red Sox have scored at least five runs in each of their last four games leading to a 3-1 record. Over the last seven days, they have slashed a hefty .277/.344/.463, good for the fifth best OPS in the MLB. During this stretch, they have slugged the majors’ third-most extra-base hits.
Though the Sox rotation has struggled to say the least, the hurlers have begun to rebound. Over the last month, their ERA does not look pretty, sitting at 4.88. However, they sport a 3.49 FIP and a league-high .359 BABIP during this period, indicating they have fallen prone to some bad luck of late. Additionally, the starters’ 2.8 WAR ranks in the top third of the MLB.
|Hanley Ramirez makes most of serving as designated hitter with game-winning home run||07.05.15 at 7:11 pm ET|
The odds may have been stacked against Hanley Ramirez in the seventh inning — down 1-2 in the count and in midst of an 0-for-9 slump facing Astros reliever Tony Sipp with a runner on first and the Red Sox trailing 4-3.
But, with one hand, he lined a changeup that just cleared the Green Monster, giving the Red Sox a 5-4 lead and proved to be the game-winner, as the Red Sox earned a series win over the Astros.
“I saw a couple changeups and I just figured he was going to throw another one,” Ramirez said. “I tried to wait on it but like I said I put a good follow through.”
“I think it just tells you how strong he is,” manager John Farrell added. “Once he gets the barrel of the bat, even the first at-bat in this series, he drives the ball out of the ballpark on Friday night. Still, when he’s able to make solid contact, he’s got the ability to drive the ball out of any park. But even if he is fooled, because his plate coverage is so good, he’s able to give us a lead and a big one at that.”
Ramirez is now batting .367 in 44 career games against the Astros, the highest active mark against the franchise (minimum 150 plate appearances). Six of Ramirez’s 18 homers this season have given the Red Sox the lead in the game at the time.
What may go unnoticed is in the at-bat prior to the home run, David Ortiz forced Sipp to throw 11 pitches, before he was able to work a walk. Ramirez said that played a role in his homer.
“That’s everything right there,” he said. “He put up a good at-bat and got on first so it’s up to me now.”
|Tony Sipp explains why he didn’t want to walk David Ortiz: ‘He’s not the same Big Papi’||at 6:30 pm ET|
David Ortiz has built his reputation on putting fear in opposing pitchers with his clutch power hitting late in games.
But with one out and none on and the Astros leading 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, fear was not on the mind of lefty Tony Sipp, who was brought in by Houston manager A.J. Hinch to face Ortiz.
“I got ahead. I was just trying to go right at him, do anything but walk him,” Sipp said. “I got the 1-2 slider and it started backing up on me. I couldn’t get the one that was sharp that looked like a strike and then [would] fade out of the strike zone. That’s why he kept fouling off and he was a little disappointed because he was missing some of my mistakes.
“Right there at the end, I threw a ball that was a little bit too low and walked him. That was the last thing I wanted to do, was walk him. He’s not hitting the best right now so I wanted to at least make him put it in play. If he’s swinging the bat well, then it’s not a bad thing to do, to walk him. But right now, he’s not the same Big Papi.”
Ortiz is hitting just .228 this season, but still with 14 homers and 41 RBIs, and an OPS of .744.
Sipp’s frustration was compounded when he gave up the go-ahead and game-winning home run on a splitter to Hanley Ramirez.
“It was down but just not out [outside] like I wanted,” Sipp said. “He put the swing that I want him to put on it but he caught it out front and had enough pop to get it over the wall. I think that’s just how it goes. Sometimes they’ll hit a good pitch. He’s pretty good and caught a good pitch. Location wasn’t bad, just down the middle.”
If Sipp watched Ortiz circle the bases, he could plainly see Ortiz pumping his fist around second base, adding more salt to the wound.
“I felt like I was throwing the ball well,” Sipp said. “I got ahead of both Big Papi and Hanley but I just couldn’t put them away.”
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