David Ortiz continued his recent hot-hitting on Friday night, slugging two mammoth home runs and driving in four runs in a 7-2 win over the Tigers.
The first home run, a three-run shot off the struggling Max Scherzer in the first inning, traveled an estimated distance of 459 feet to right-center field, according to HitTracker, good enough for one of the longest home runs hit in the major leagues this season.
Of course, it wasn’t long ago that most of us were ready to give up on the 34-year-old slugger. After all, he batted just .143 (8-for-56) with one home run and four RBI in April. But after his big night on Friday, Ortiz is hitting .333 (11-for-33) with five home runs and 11 RBI over nine games in May. He enters Saturday’s action with a season-high .213/.283/.483 batting line.
In turn, Ortiz has some words for those who doubted him, via Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald:
“I’m feeling good,” he said. “Swinging the bat – seeing the ball and
hitting it, man. You know? There’s people that know a lot about the
game, they think they got everything figured out. Just tell them that
the season is not over after April. It’s over after October.”
Noted. Ortiz is certainly showing signs of life here, but what I’m most interested to see is whether Red Sox manager Terry Francona will push his DH platoon to the side on Saturday and start Ortiz against the left-hander Dontrelle Willis.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: