David Ortiz has been on fire since returning from the disabled list to make his 2013 debut, hitting .487 with three homers and seven doubles in 10 games for an incredible 1.409 OPS.
Ortiz missed nearly the entire second half of last season, but he ended the year with a hitting streak that has now stretched to 22 games dating back to July 2. That’s a career-long streak for Ortiz at age 37 and Chris Toman of MLB.com notes that it’s the longest streak by a designated hitter since Paul Molitor had a hit in 39 straight games in 1987.
Hitting streaks can often be kind of silly and obviously Ortiz isn’t making a run at Joe DiMaggio, but what he’s done since coming off the DL is ridiculous and the fact that his streak picked up from last July just makes it even more impressive following such a long layoff.
Since the beginning of 2012 he’s now hitting .336 with 26 homers, 33 doubles, and a 1.067 OPS in 100 games.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.