Earlier this week David Ortiz lashed out at critics, calling them “disrespectful” for questioning whether his struggles this season are a sign of permanent decline. Wednesday he was benched against a left-handed pitcher by Red Sox manager John Farrell.
Reporters in the clubhouse described Ortiz as being predictably unhappy with the benching, but here’s all he’d say when asked:
I’m not playing today. That’s all. I don’t know what to tell you. I’m just not playing, that’s it. That’s something you’ve got to ask the manager. I’m not the manager here. I’m just a player, and I do what I get to be told. John told me yesterday I’m not playing today, so I’m here.
Within his overall struggles this season Ortiz has actually managed good production versus right-handed pitchers, but he’s hit just .114 with 14 strikeouts and zero walks versus lefties. Farrell indicated that he likely won’t be a one-day thing.
Ortiz being upset is understandable given that he’s been an everyday player for 15 years and has generally fared well against lefties, but it’s also understandable that Farrell would give some time off to a 39-year-old hitting .114 off same-sided pitchers.
Matt Harvey is currently going through a rough patch in his first season back from Tommy John elbow surgery, allowing a career-high seven runs Wednesday against the Giants and a total of 20 runs in 25 innings during his last four starts.
Harvey was fantastic right out of the gates this season, tossing six shutout innings in his return from surgery on April 9 and going 5-1 with a 1.98 ERA in his first eight starts. He’s gone 1-3 with a 7.20 ERA since, including giving up eight homers in four outings.
However, after Wednesday’s loss Harvey told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that there’s nothing wrong with him physically:
This is Major League Baseball. You can’t hit your spots, you can’t mix things in well, you’re not going to do your job very well. I just have to be better. There’s no excuses to be made. My job is to go out and put up zeroes. I’m not doing that very well. Right now I’m just not executing anything. … Physically my arm feels great. My body feels fine. It’s just a matter of executing my pitches.
Even with the poor stretch Harvey’s overall numbers include an 82/14 K/BB ratio in 80 innings, which is every bit as good as his pre-surgery numbers, but he’s served up 12 homers in 12 starts after allowing a total of 12 homers in 36 pre-surgery starts.
Andrew Miller’s spectacular first season as the Yankees’ closer is now on hold, as the dominant left-hander is headed to the disabled list with a strained muscle in his forearm.
Miller signed a four-year, $36 million deal with the Yankees as a free agent this offseason and quickly took over the closer role even though manager Joe Girardi delayed officially naming him the closer. He’s saved 17 games with a 1.03 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 26 innings while holding opponents to a .090 batting average.
Fortunately for the Yankees they have a similarly incredible reliever in right-hander Dellin Betances who can step into the closer role, although having the two-headed Betances-Miller monster to shut down the late innings has been a huge key to New York’s strong start this season.