Remember when David Ortiz was hitting just .185 with one homer through two months and people were quick to write him off as washed up? Turns out, not so much.
Ortiz went deep twice last night, including a walk-off blast that curled around Pesky Pole in the bottom of the ninth inning, and has now batted .257/.344/.566 with 21 homers, 35 total extra-base hits, and 59 RBIs in 70 games since June 1.
Here’s how those numbers stack up with the rest of the league during that time:
HR SLG RBI
DAVID ORTIZ 21 Kendry Morales .612 Bobby Abreu 63
Russell Branyan 20 Miguel Cabrera .578 DAVID ORTIZ 59
Carlos Pena 20 Adam Lind .575 Kendry Morales 55
Kendry Morales 19 DAVID ORTIZ .566 Russell Branyan 53
Aaron Hill 18 Hideki Matsui .563 Juan Rivera 53
Since the calendar flipped to June, Ortiz has the league’s most homers, second-most RBIs, and fourth-highest slugging percentage. And we’re not just talking about a hot streak, as those totals are from nearly half a season’s worth of games. His overall stats remain mediocre and Ortiz obviously isn’t the MVP-caliber offensive force that he was from 2003-2007, but if the Red Sox get into the playoffs you can be certain that no one will be eager to pitch to him.
Incidentally, last night’s blast was the 10th walk-off homer of Ortiz’s career, which puts him two behind the all-time record of 12 shared by Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson, Stan Musial, and Jimmie Foxx. What, you were expecting Kurt Bevacqua?
A brutal couple of updates on the night of Jose Fernandez’s death from Jeff Passan of Yahoo and from Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald.
Passan reports on the leadup to the fateful boat trip. About how a friend of one of the other men killed on the boat had pleaded with him not to go out in the dark. Then there’s this:
After Saturday’s game, Fernandez had asked a number of teammates to join him on the boat. One by one, they declined.
Marcell Ozuna was one of them. Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald reports:
Following Monday’s game, Ozuna said he turned down an invitation from Fernandez after Saturday night’s game to go out with him and join him for a spin on his boat . . . “That night I told him, ‘Don’t go out,’” Ozuna said. “Everybody knew he was crazy about that boat and loved being out on the water. I told him I couldn’t go out that night because I had the kids and my wife waiting for me.
Losing a friend and teammate under such circumstances is brutal enough. Adding on survivor’s guilt would be close to impossible to bear.
David Ortiz has used Derek Jeter’s Player’s Tribune as his personal podium all year as he says goodbye to the Major Leagues. He continues that today, on the eve of his final series against the Yankees.
In it Ortiz talks about what playing the Yankees meant to him over the course of his career. About how the fan hate was real but something he embraced. About how the series back in the days of Jeter and Pettitte and Mariano and Mussina were “wars.” He also talks about how the Yankees were basically everything when he was growing up in the Dominican Republic. The only caps and shirts you saw were Yankees shirts and how they were about the only team you could see on TV there. As such, coming to Boston and then playing against the Yankees was a big, big deal.
Ortiz says “[s]ome players are born to be Yankees, you know what I’m saying? I was born to play against the Yankees.”
And he’ll get to do it only three more times.