Ortiz takes it to the house
David Ortiz was not taking when Dustin McGowan threw him a 3-0 fastball in the first inning tonight at Fenway Park. Not when he had gone some 34 games without going deep at the place he has often referred to as "the House".
And this has very much been Ortiz’s house since he arrived here in 2003. So he took that 3-0 pitch and sent it sailing into the visitor’s bullpen. As Ortiz rounded the bases, I’m thinking he felt a big weight off his shoulders. This is a guy who takes his responsibility to this team and this city pretty seriously.
When he doesn’t come through, nobody takes it harder. You could see Ortiz’s shoulders slump last night when he had a chance to deliver a walkoff special but instead flew to center.
The Red Sox would become a very scary team if they can get Ortiz and Manny hot together for a prolonged stretch. Consider that they’ve gotten to this point — a 10-game lead in tow — with both guys lagging from their usual production.
On to other matters, what a throw by Coco Crisp to nail Glaus trying to get a double. Sure, Glaus was safe because Pedroia never tagged him. But nobody ever expected Coco to make a no-hop throw from the left-center field wall to second base. He’s having an all-around great year in the field.
J.D. Drew remains day to day with the bad hammy. Eric Hinske gets the start in right instead of Wily Mo Pena. I know it’s a lefty-righty thing, but don’t forget in Spring Training that the Red Sox were adamant about getting Pena every available outfield at-bat when any of the starters didn’t play. It hasn’t worked out that way in the least and Wily Mo is struggling with the bat. He has just 122 ABs.
This is what Theo Epstein said on Feb. 16, 2007 about Wily Mo:
"If you take a look at how many plate appearances
there are left after any set of three starting outfielders, let alone our
recent history of injuries in the outfield, there are plenty of plate
appearances. Wily Mo is going to scoop all of those up because of his ability
to play all three outfield spots. We’re very committed to him and his development. Just like last
year, there are two goals for him. We want to continue his development to
become more of a complete player so he can ultimately reach his ceiling, which
is tremendous. At the same time, he’s got to contribute to us winning
ballgames. He’s a little bit farther down the line than he was last year. He
went out, made some adjustments, hit .300, battled through some injuries. I
think he showed that he can help us win games.”
Here was Tito talking about Wily Mo Pena on Feb. 16, 2007:
means that somebody else isn’t playing. I think if you realistically look at
our ballclub and what could happen, because of his ability to play center
field, left field and right field, every time somebody needs a rest or somebody
is nicked up, he’s the perfect candidate to get at-bats. Our responsibility
will be to find him enough at-bats where he can be productive. I’m confident we
can do that.”
So what happened? Well, Coco emerged into a pure Gold Glove center fielder and the Red Sox never want him out of the lineup. And when Coco was hurt, they went to Ellsbury and not Wily Mo. Also, they now like Hinske more than they did in Spring Training, even though he’s hitting a buck 90.
Some of these matters are viewed differently under the sun of Fort Myers than the reality of Boston in July when the team is desperately trying to win games. Wily Mo’s development has gotten a little lost in the shuffle here, and it’s showing when he does get at-bats. You wonder where they go from here with WMP.