David Ortiz could be flying on Oceanic flight 815 and not be any more Lost than he is right now. With two more Ks today, Papi’s total on the year rests at thirteen and that leaves him on pace to whiff 299 times on the season. Forget calling Ortiz the Cookie Monster ….he is the frigging Smoke Monster!
Now I suppose Ortiz plumbed lower lows last season, particularly that 0-7 disaster in Anaheim that led to his Seattle-benching, but this is pretty bad. What I see in Ortiz is a guy who can’t get around on mediocre fastballs (Pavano and Slowey) and is trying so hard to get his bat started that he is vulnerable to any kind of breaking pitch, good or bad. Now there might have been a glimmer of hope with that opposite field slash in the ninth, but that strikes me as little more than a defensive and lucky two-strike slap. But hey, stranger things have broken slumps, although count me in the camp that isn’t so sure this is just a “slump.”.
* The “Ortiz Conundrum” got murkier today when Jeremy Hermida slashed that gapper in the Ninth to clear the bases. Hermida has now driven in six and Terry Francona can no longer pretend that he doesn’t have a viable option for Ortiz. The optics would be different if Hermida were off to a 2-14 start but he’s not so Francona can’t say something like: “Who do you want me to put in there ……Jeremy Hermida? “ The way I see it, Hermida is a big problem here. If he continues to hit, albeit in limited opportunites, the pressure is going to build on both Francona and Ortiz. Now Francona can ease some of the pressure by giving Lowell some at bats versus left-handers, but the moment the manager starts giving DH at-bats away to Hermida, the game is over for Ortiz. And if Hermida hits, that time might be sooner than I previously thought.
* As far as Hermida goes, I am interested to see if he gets in a game this weekend with Ellsbury back in the lineup. With a bunch of tough righties coming to Fenway, might we see Ellsbury back in center and Hermida playing once or twice in left? That opens up the possibility of this nightmare for Francona ….. this mess with Ortiz continues and Hermida drills a three-run job off Matt Garza to win the Sunday game. If that happens, is there any shot Hermida is DH’ing on Patriots Day?
* John Lackey certainly wasn’t great today and he had a terrible time pitching to Denard Span (three walks), but he did a nice job grinding his way into the seventh. The Sox got this guy to keep them in games, give them quality length, and stand up in big spots. I have not been disappointed so far.
* That was another shaky day for the bullpen. Oki did a nice job getting Morneau to pop out in a huge spot, but Bard got hammered and Papelbon was all over the place. It was a good thing that Hermida came thought with the ninth-inning double or the Sox very well may have lost today.
* Last year, Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth home run on July 9th. This year, number four came on April 14th at 2:41 EST. The little guy is off to some start.