David Ortiz has five hits in eight at-bats since returning from an Achilles injury that abruptly shortened his 2012 season. And yet, the Red Sox DH says he still doesn’t feel comfortable at the plate.
Via WEEI’s Annie Maroon:
“I’m battling right now,” Ortiz, who went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI in the afternoon game against the Royals, said. “I wasn’t facing pitching for eight months, and I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t feel comfortable yet. I’ve been lucky. I’ve been hitting where nobody’s at, but I don’t feel yet the way I like to feel, you know what I’m saying?”
Ryan Howard, another lefty slugger who suffered an Achilles injury, has hit just 15 home runs in 358 plate appearances since returning in July 2012. Ortiz has hit 20 or more home runs in each season dating back to 2002, so it will be interesting to see if he can recapture his power.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.