Ortiz makes them pay

Bases loaded, two outs, tie game. 0-for-11 or 0-for-50, I think all of us knew that Ortiz was coming through in that spot tonight. Does he ever not come through?

This is the 26th year that I’ve been watching baseball and I can honestly say that I’ve never seen anyyone nearly as clutch as this guy. David loves these moments. He was very frustrated on the first pitch, which he thought was well out of the strike zone. But he didn’t let it get to him.

With the heavy shift on the right side, David could have easily bunted his way on for the go-ahead run or just hit a cheap ground single. But instead, he bashes the ball right into the teeth of the defense, finds some daylight on the grass, and the ball rockets into the right field corner. It’s a full count, so all the runners are off on contact and they all score. Just a great moment.

And it took Loretta’s bunt to set it up. A bad bunt, definitely. Loretta got too much wood on the ball. But perhaps in a sign that his luck is about to change, Mora can’t make the play. Was anyone else having de ja vu to when Renteria put that bunt in front of Mora last year and Ortiz clocked one against B.J. Ryan?

It was a great night at Fenway. Schilling was workman-like. Papelbon got a seven pitch save. And Millar got a nice ovation.

I was glad to see Millar get such a nice reception. Sure, he had a bad year last year. But few players have embraced all that comes with playing in Boston as much as this guy. He was a tremendous teammate in Boston, and, in my opinion, is missed quite a bit in the clubhouse. David Ortiz said as much before tonight’s game.

It’s not as if they could have brought him back with the limited production he had last year, and Youkilis has certainly justified the decision. But Millar was a unique clubhouse guy, able to put all of his teammates at ease in a stressful environment. I was glad to see him get a nice hand.

I’m off tomorrow, but i’ll be back in the saddle on Sunday.

Ian.

10 Comments

As poor a year as Millar had in 2005 with the bat, his clubhouse presence was invaluable. I’m of the belief that every team needs a guy like Kevin, whose smiles and joking manner keeps people relaxed and as a result raises their level of play. Athletes have a tendancy to think too much sometimes. They let the little things get to them–be it comments by the media, the fans, or other players, or trying to play through a slump. With Kev, you had a guy that seemed to have a knack for getting along with each and every person he had contact with, and that’s no easy task. He made it his job to keep his teammates loose and upbeat. It would be interesting to see how this new team Theo’s assembled might really handle adversity. I’m not talking about a brief losing streak or the loss of a key player such as Coco Crisp for a month, but something along the lines of what happened last year when the Sox played 500 ball for, like, 3 months of the season and couldn’t string together more than 3 wins at a time. I pray that never happens this year, though. If it did, there’ll be no Millar around to release the steam. :(

OK, how many doubles does Mike Lowell have to hit before someone else notices that he’s batting .350, is leading the league in doubles (16), has more extrabase hits than Ortiz (18 to 17) and is fielding like a madman? This guy could get into the hall if he finishes out his career in Boston putting dents in the Monster. Yep Ortiz won the game, Lowell kept them IN the game.

Last night was the first game I was able to attend this year, and what a great game all around (not to mention the beautiful weather). Mike Lowell starting the game off with a diving grab, stealing a bag in the 6th and hitting his, seemingly, 40th double was great to see. He continutes to impress as well as silence the critics who thought he was going to be an offensive liability.

The Millar ovation was great. I was never a huge fan of him as a player…I always felt like the infield pop-up was inevitable, but what an asset to any clubhouse.

I hope Dougy goes deep today and maybe Wakefield gets about 10 runs of support.

Lowell has been invaluable for the team. I don’t think anyone had given the guy a chance after last year. Living in Florida though, I watched him play quite a few times, and it seemed like he hit more hard line drives at outfielders than anyone in the league. I knew he was in for a big year with the Boston lineup around him. He’s a good hitter, and although he’s bound to cool off sometime (hopefully not), he’s going to be a productive hitter in the lineup. His .976 career fielding percentage is 5 points above Brooks Robinsons career .971…the all-time highest (1000 games). Doesn’t look like a bad decision to take Lowell along with Beckett now.

Totally agree that Lowell is beating all expectations. Same goes for Wily Mo, especially since he’s been playing every night in center. Add to that the Bard-for-Loretta trade (in two steps) and you have to call it pretty good work by the F.O. And when Clemens announces he’s coming back, oh wow…

it’s good to see millar get a standing o. unlike judas, millar wasn’t offered squat so he moved on. a hidden stat in mikey’s double tear- he has almost 8 times as many doubles as homers. if he only hits 10 homers but gets 50 doubles and hits .300, i’d say thats a good year.

Yup, gotta give props to Theo and the rest for realizing that one off year at the plate does not a washed up player make. Like the rest of you, I’m glad they took a shot with him.

I was never a great fan of Millar on defense, but if the Sox didn’t already have Ortiz, I’d have been comfortable with him as a DH. He was OK at first, but it seemed like any time he played the outfield he let a ball by him or muffed a catch. That’s probably selective memory, but I still cringe when I think of him in the outfield. Personality-wise, I love the guy.

I really like Gonzo’s defense, but with his weak bat, I feel like he’ll be the one the Sox will trade, along with maybe one of the outfielders. Do you think we’ll see Pedroia up at all this year? Also, what about Hansen if Seanez and Tavarez keep on struggling?

Well, Ortiz is having a slight slump these days, and his average has plummeted by .4 since a week ago. But he’s last of worries. I think the offence is picking up and Gonzo flirting with the Mendoza Line, so it’s all good. The big question is Beckett on Tuesday.

A little off the subject, but this is an issue that bothers me a great deal. Papa Jack gets absolutely no credit for what he has done with this team. Without him around, I believe the Red Sox are a much worse ballclub. He makes good hitters into great hitters. Look at what he did with Ortiz and what he is currently doing with Lowell and Pena. Both of them struggled early, spent a little time with Papa Jack and are hitting tremendously. This is just one example of many. Papa Jack is the most vital asset to the Red Sox offense and deserves more credit and appreciation than he gets. He is far more valuable than Francona and it’s about time people begin to realize it.

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