|Red Sox lineup: Doubles machine David Ortiz gets night off as Sox look to complete sweep of Yankees||09.18.16 at 6:42 pm ET|
David Ortiz has earned a night off.
The Red Sox DH, originally penciled in for the entire Yankees series, will skip Sunday’s finale to rest up for a four-game series with the Orioles that starts on Monday. He served as honorary captain at the Patriots-Dolphins game in Foxboro on Sunday afternoon.
“When I talked with David after Friday night’s game, in large part because of the number of times he was on base and the extent to which he ran, with a quick turnaround on Saturday, we talked about the upcoming two days — yesterday and today,” manager John Farrell said. “With the late-night arrival, likely four right-handed starters in Baltimore, felt like this was the day to give him down.”
Ortiz leads the league in doubles with 47, a feat Farrell considers even more impressive than his 34 homers.
“I would say, yes,” Farrell said. “Fortunately here, I don’t know how many have been ground-rule where he’s jogging into second base, but it was before the All-Star break where you look up and he’s already in the low 30s, and at that point you look up and it’s a little bit of a head-scratcher. To see that number of doubles hit in this, what would be his last year, that’s a crazy amount if you ask me. A crazy amount. He’s got a chance to have 50-plus doubles, 35-plus home runs. That’s a career for a lot of guys.”
Here’s the Red Sox lineup, with Drew Pomeranz facing Yankees lefty CC Sabathia.
Bradley Jr. CF
|David Ortiz second-guessing decision to announce retirement before season||09.17.16 at 3:45 pm ET|
But what has been truly mind-blowing is David Ortiz’s ability to handle the requests of all those wanting one final piece of David Ortiz. It started on the first day of spring training, kicked up steam during Fort Myers’ golf cart presentation, and hasn’t stopped for a minute.
Gifts. Interviews. Public appearances. You name it. With just a couple of weeks left in the regular season, Ortiz can reflect on a sometimes uncomfortable challenge for his final season.
“No clue,” Ortiz told WEEI.com when asked if he had any idea the demands would be like this prior to the season. “But if I knew I would have probably announced it after the season. But it’s all good. At least we’ve been able to give the fans what matters the most, the opportunity to watch me play for the last time.”
“No, I haven’t, which I think is totally related to how well he’s performed this year, and also how accommodating he’s been to the media,” said Red Sox media relations director Kevin Gregg when asked if he has seen anything like the amount of requests given to Ortiz this season. “The thing with him is that it’s not just local media. It’s local, national and international. It’s been a ton.”
The last week or so has offered a microcosm of what Ortiz has had to deal with. In each of the Red Sox’ last three road stops — Oakland, San Diego and Toronto — the demands for the designated hitter’s time was non-stop. And being the last visits to those places, it only made it worse.
So by the time the Red Sox faced off with the Yankees this weekend, Ortiz knew enough to lay as low as possible.
“He knows when to shut down,” Gregg said. “He knows the media has a job to do and he does the best to help. Sometimes he needs to balance the preparation for baseball over what he’s doing for the media.”
“We’ve all come to know David, he’s a got an uncanny ability to, I don’t know whether you want to say compartmentalize,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “It’s almost like he operates best when there’s so many different things going on. He’s got a lot going on. He’s earned it. To watch him be able to focus in to get four or five at-bats, individual events, it’s pretty remarkable. On night games, he walks in at 12:30 in the afternoon and there’s a lot going on with him with some of the other things as it relates to his career, the final season, a number of personal things that he has going on. But he finds a way to balance it all and has not skipped a beat when it comes to the bottom-line numbers.”
Or, as Ortiz explained it, “There has been a lot. When I’m locked in playing the game I don’t worry about anything but playing the game.”
Ortiz has found a way to prioritize, which has been evident in the ability to stay health and produce on the field. But he also admits that it hasn’t been easy, a reality that, on Sept. 17, only becomes more evident. It’s another reason why those hoping for another season shouldn’t hold their breath.
“I don’t know how I’ve done it, but I have,” Ortiz explained. “I just don’t think I could put up with this again. I just can’t wait for this to be over because I’m pretty tired. Everybody wants a piece of you. But it’s all good.”
It looks like the Rays have changed their minds.
On Friday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported the Rays weren’t planning any special ceremony for David Ortiz’s last game there next weekend, rather just a short video tribute to be shown prior to the second inning in next Sunday’s series finale.
Now, it looks like that won’t be the case.
“We have the outline of a plan for next Sunday, and we’re waiting for the players to come home so that we can get their input before finalizing the details,” team president Brian Auld said to Topkin later on Friday.
Evan Longoria seems to be one player who would like there to be more than just a small video tribute, as every other team has had a small pregame ceremony and presented him with gifts, or donations to his charity.
“Obviously we would like to do something for (Ortiz),” Longoria said. “I have no answer if that means something monetarily as a donation to his foundation, if that means a gift, I don’t know yet.
“I guess we will get together with Brian and see what makes the most sense. The players want to do something for him. We’ll figure out the best way to accomplish that so we feel like we’ve done it the right way.”
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
|Closing Time: Hanley Ramirez continues hot streak, Clay Buchholz picks up win as Red Sox beat Yankees||09.16.16 at 10:24 pm ET|
The Red Sox appear to be in a good position for the final 15 games of the season.
Led by Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate, and Clay Buchholz on the mound, the Red Sox beat Yankees 7-4 Friday night at Fenway Park.
They now lead the Yankees by six games in the AL East and Orioles by two games as they came from behind to beat the Rays. The Blue Jays are playing the Angels late on the West Coast.
The Red Sox carried over their momentum from Thursday night into the first inning on Friday as they scored two runs. David Ortiz had an RBI single off the Green Monster, but was thrown out at second base and then Ramirez singled up the middle to make it a 2-0 game.
Ramirez kept his hot streak going as he crushed a solo homer in the fourth inning to almost the exact same spot as his walk-off on Thursday to put the Red Sox in front 3-0 at the time. Travis Shaw and Sandy Leon each added RBIs before Bradley Jr. hit a solo homer in the seventh.
Buchholz wasn’t perfect by any means, but was able to make key pitches when he needed to as he escaped a few jams. The right-hander went six innings and allowed two runs on seven hits, while walking two and striking out two. It was his seventh win of the year.
He’s given the team two outstanding starts in his last three outings with Steven Wright down and possibly out for the year.
The Yankees went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Robbie Ross Jr. (2/3 of an inning), Brad Zieger (1/3 of an inning), Koji Uehara (one inning) were excellent in relief as they didn’t allow a run in two innings of work, but Fernando Abad had issues in the ninth as he allowed a two-run homer to Billy Butler forcing Craig Kimbrel to come on for the final two outs.
Ramirez has six home runs in his last nine games, nine in his last 16, and 10 in his last 19.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox win.
It’s been a tradition this season for teams to honor David Ortiz with a special pregame ceremony with gifts as a way to pay tribute to him during his final game in that particular city, as he is set to retire at the end of the this year.
This type of ceremony apparently won’t happen in one city in the American League East.
According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays aren’t planning any special ceremony, just a short video tribute to be shown prior to the second inning in next Sunday’s series finale. The story notes every team in the league has honored Ortiz to this point in the year with the exception of the Braves.
Even the Yankees are reportedly planning some sort of ceremony.
Rays officials declined to give a reason to Topkin for the story.
For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.
Prior to the Red Sox’ ninth inning comeback win over the Yankees, David Ortiz reached yet another milestone.
With his solo home run in the eighth inning, he surpassed Mickey Mantle for 17th on the all-time home run list, as he now has 537.
After the game, the slugger was asked what it was like to pass a legend like Mantle, but Ortiz said all he cares about is winning.
“I’m not really focused on personal numbers, I’m focused on winning,” Ortiz said. “We need to win right now. We need to do whatever it takes to win. The race right now is very close. Look at the standings, every one matters right now. It’s great to be part of the history, but right now I’m focused on winning.”
Thursday was one of the biggest wins of the year for the Red Sox as they scored five runs in the ninth inning against Yankees closer Dellin Betances to stun the Yankees 7-5, as Hanley Ramirez hit a two-out, walk-off three-run homer to dead-center field.
“Man, this game pretty much was on their side and it’s huge,” Ortiz said. “Hanley is a guy that — he has been doing some unbelievable things with the year he’s happening. You can’t ask for much more than that. He’s coming in every day to do something to make things happen. That’s how it is.”
With Ortiz starting the ninth inning rally with a two-out single for the third run, it was a similar feeling to the magic of 2004 when Ortiz had several clutch hits in the postseason.
“Our games against the Yankees are unbelievable games,” Ortiz said. “Coming from behind against a guy like Betances is huge. Betances is super nasty. He has some of the best stuff in the game. It’s big. It’s pretty big.”
The Red Sox now have a two-game lead in the AL East over the Orioles and a five-game lead over the Yankees with the Blue Jays sandwiched in the middle.
|Closing Time: Hanley Ramirez hits walk-off 3-run homer as Red Sox stun Yankees||09.15.16 at 11:06 pm ET|
While Sunday’s back-and-forth battle with the Blue Jays was deemed the biggest win of the season, Thursday night might have topped it.
With the Red Sox trailing 5-2 entering the ninth inning, they scored five runs to stun the Yankees, 7-5.
With two outs and two on, Hanley Ramirez crushed a three-run homer to dead-center field off closer Dellin Betances to give the Red Sox a walk-off win.
The Yankees used two different pitchers — Tommy Layne and Blake Parker — before Betances entered the game with a runner on first and one out. David Ortiz got the rally started with a two-out RBI bloop single and then Mookie Betts singled home Xander Bogaerts to make it a 5-4 game.
A wild pitch set up second and third with two outs and Ramirez’s heroics came on a 3-1 count.
“I was trying to go to the moon,” Ramirez said. “That’s why I was sitting on a fastball the whole time. … Just stay back and let it rip.”
Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez struggled as he allowed two runs in the first and then two more in the third before being lifted from the game. The left-hander departed after just 2 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits. He didn’t walk or strike out a batter. The 23-year-old didn’t have much command as most of his pitches were left over the plate and the Yankees bats took full advantage.
It was the third time in the last five games where the Red Sox starter has failed to make it out of the third inning.
“This turn through, it’s been less than,” manager John Farrell said. “We went a long stretch where our rotation has been very steady, very consistent and while the three guys have scuffled this last turn through, our bullpen has stepped up and just been dynamic. Tonight was a big lift. Each guy that came to the mound, they did their job, kept the game under control and fortunately we scored enough late to overcome it.”
Given his age and the long season, David Ortiz has needed a few down days along the way this year. Going into Thursday, the designated hitter has missed 11 games in total this year, but hasn’t started in a few more to later come in as a pinch-hitter.
Ortiz didn’t play (he pinch-hit once) in any of the three games in San Diego last week and it appears like that will be enough to make him available for the remaining 16 games of the season after Thursday.
“I’m sure there’s been some benefit to it,” manager John Farrell of the three games plus an off-day last week. “Any time this time of year a player regardless of who you are gets a little bit of a breather, it helps. I think there was some at-bats up in Toronto where he worked to get his timing back a little bit more sharp and consistent. Hopefully that set him up to be available every game remaining. No one wants to be out there daily more than David. We’ll take a step back if needed, but right now there is nothing to suggest he will need a day.”
Since the down time, Ortiz is hitting .240, but like Farrell said, it has taken some time to get his timing back. Farrell said Ortiz is feeling pretty good at the moment, but he will continue to check on him daily like they have all year.
“I think he feels — I can’t say as good as he has at any point in the season — but we had 23 games remaining after the Padres series,” Farrell said. “We do have a day off scheduled, [Sept. 26] in New York. I think that if the turnaround time of a given day — we have a couple of Sunday night games coming up that are going to present a little bit of a challenge, but as we’ve done all year that will be daily communication and we’ll work through it as best we can.”
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
|Closing Time: David Ortiz victimizes Joaquin Benoit again as Red Sox claim wild win over Blue Jays, open 2-game lead||09.11.16 at 4:56 pm ET|
David Ortiz owns two career home runs against Joaquin Benoit. Red Sox fans will never forget the first. We may look back at the second as the biggest of this season.
Three years after his grand slam off of Benoit saved the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series against the Tigers, Ortiz once again victimized the reliever, this time blasting a three-run homer to erase an 8-7 deficit and propel the Red Sox to an 11-8 victory on Sunday that restored their two-game lead in the American League East.
The Red Sox finished a brutal nine-game road trip with a 6-3 record, including two of three in Toronto. When they left for Oakland last week, they trailed by two games in the division. Now they lead by two games. They begin a seven-game homestand against the Orioles and Yankees on Monday.
“The two things that come to mind, one, we never rolled over,” manager John Farrell told reporters in Toronto. “We kept grinding, kept finding a way to come back. Two, this was about one guy picking up another. Clay [Buchholz] exits early, we go to the bullpen, the offense climbs right back into it. Every out by guys coming out of the bullpen was key, all the way down to Noe Ramirez’s one out to set it up to piece together the fifth inning. Just a dramatic home run again from David, against Benoit, that, you know, a few years ago, there was another memorable one. This might not have been the same stage, but where we are against that team, really no less important.”
Ortiz’s three-run bomb in the sixth capped a wild back-and-forth contest that was billed as a pitcher’s duel but instead devolved into an old-fashioned Sox-Jays slugfest. It also brought back pleasant memories of 2013, when Ortiz’s Game 2 grand slam off of Benoit kept the Red Sox from returning to Detroit in a 2-0 series hole.
“A little bit, yeah,” Ortiz told reporters when asked if this homer reminded him of that one. “And I thought I was getting a different menu, but he threw me a hittable — I mean, it wasn’t that bad. It was in the bottom of the strike zone, right where the pitcher wanted to make that pitch. I guess I put a good swing on it.”
|David Ortiz on Donald Trump’s comments about Latino immigrants: ‘When you speak like that about us, it’s a slap in the face’||09.06.16 at 11:48 am ET|
Donald Trump might count Tom Brady among his friends, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be invited to David Ortiz’s retirement party.
In an interview conducted in Spanish with USA Today’s Jorge L. Ortiz, the Red Sox slugger — who normally avoids getting involved in politics — said Trump’s comments about immigrants hit a nerve with the Dominican Republic native.
Trump has said he wants to build a wall along the Mexican border to stop people from entering the United States illegally, and his famous remark that Mexico is sending rapists and criminals to the U.S. “didn’t sit well” with Ortiz.
“When you speak like that about us, it’s a slap in the face,” Ortiz said. “I walk around sometimes, and I see Mexican people trying to earn a living in an honest way. And to hear somebody make those kinds of comments, it hits you. I think as Latin people we deserve better. Things have gotten much better in that regard. … As Latin people we deserve respect, no matter where you’re from. And especially our Mexican brothers, who come here willing to do all the dirty work.
“Latin people here in the United States are the spark plug of the country’s economy. Whoever opposes that is going to lose. And not just Latin people but immigrants. I’m talking about people who come from Africa, from Asia, other places. All those people come here with one goal, to realize the American dream, and you have to include them in our group.”
On a more positive note, Ortiz said he is hoping to leave a legacy as a star who was always willing to help younger players.
“That matters to me more than any home runs I’ve hit. It may inspire some of the young players coming up to try to emulate the things I’ve done right,” Ortiz said, adding: “If [my sons] ever get up here [to the majors], I want people to say to them, ‘I knew your dad, and he was a guy with huge power. But there was something better about him. He was a good person, a good guy.’ That’s what I care about the most.”
Added Ortiz: “I like doing that. It’s my nature. When I see young guys put some advice you gave them into work and they’re doing well, it makes me feel like I accomplished something.”
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