Papi’s Swing is Now Scaring the Children (and me)

The numbers on David Ortiz are frightening. Three for twenty-two, with two walks, two doubles and ELEVEN strikeouts, including eight in his last three games. And as bad as these numbers are, they might actually be worse if David Ortiz had been penciled in to face Zach Greinke on Saturday night. The silver lining here is with all these strikeouts, David has yet to ground into a double play.

Is David Ortiz done? Probably. Is he lost right now? Definitely.  Today’s effort was not encouraging. He took three called strikes in the second, he was late on a 89 MPH fastball in the fourth (before doubling on 3-2), he waved at strike three in the seventh and in the ninth, he fouled out weekly to third. Yesterday, Ortiz saw 30 pitches, swung at eight of them and put none in play. It doesn’t get much sadder than that.

So the question on the table is: how long do the Sox stick with Ortiz? Well, in the short-term, I’d give Ortiiz another shot on Wednesday against RH Kevin Slowey and sit him on Thursday against lefty Francisco Liriano. I suspect Francona will agree, especially since there are three Tampa righties on deck and it makes all the sense to give Lowell that day.

And long-term? That is a bit harder to answer. Clearly, if Ortiz keeps striking out at a 50 percent clip, the leash is going to be pretty short, Lowell is going to hit Lefties and Hermida might draw a game here and there. But here is the problem, if you aren’t going to play Ortiz regularly, he should be released as he is a burden to the roster. And if the Sox find that Victor Martinez is hurting the team defensively and a catcher is needed, then Ortiz is obviously holding a short straw.

If I had to guess, I would say Ortiz is safe through mid-May and probably June 1. But with a gun to my head, I say he doesn’t survive the season. As opposed to last season, the Sox have options this year and those options don’t include carrying an “out” at DH. Ortiz can make their decision much easier by either self-correcting or self-imploding. Unfortunately, my crystal ball says it will be something in-between and we will still be discussing this at the end of June.

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