David Ortiz isn’t clutch, he’s just good

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Red Sox manager John Farrell says DH David Ortiz has a “knack for the moment”, as Sean McAdam reports in a column for CSN New England. Ortiz hit a go-ahead solo home run in the 10th inning after Koji Uehara blew his first save of the season in Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Athletics.

The concept of Ortiz as clutch isn’t a new one. He’s a three-time World Series champion and is coming off of a post-season in which he posted a 1.206 OPS with five home runs and 13 RBI in 16 games. He had a similarly otherworldly post-season run in 2004 as well.

But if you dig into the numbers, one finds that Ortiz is just as good in “clutch” moments as he is overall:

  • Career: .926 OPS
  • Post-season: .962
  • 2 outs, RISP: .950
  • “Late & Close”: .871
  • High leverage: .936

He is very slightly better in “clutch” situations but the difference isn’t so large as to be explained by factors unrelated to Ortiz, including simple statistical variance.

A career .926 OPS is really, really good. He’s one of 28 players since 1901 to post a .925 OPS or better in at least 8,000 career plate appearances, according to Baseball Reference. Ortiz may not be clutch, but he is quite a productive hitter. We don’t need to exaggerate his prowess when citing his everyday performance does the job.

The Royals traveled to Boston to play for 12 minutes

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The Kansas City Royals lost to the Baltimore Orioles last night. After the game they flew to Boston to play the Red Sox. They played for 12 whole minutes this afternoon, lost, and are now on their way to Cleveland to take on the Indians tomorrow. For their part the Red Sox are now heading to the airport to fly out to San Diego for a game against the Padres tomorrow.

All of this was the result of a suspended game on August 7, which was halted as the Royals and Red Sox were tied 4-4 in the top of the 10th inning. It was resumed, and concluded quite quickly, this afternoon.

When the game was suspended, Josh Taylor had just come on to pitch for Boston and Royals catcher Meibrys Viloria was ahead in the count to 2-1. It resumed at 1:05pm. Nick Dini pinch-hit for Viloria and lined out and the next two Royals batters went down in order as well.

In the bottom of the 10th Andrew Benintendi struck out, Christian Vázquez doubled, Chris Owings pinch ran for him, Sam Travis was intentionally walked and then Brock Holt singled in Owings. Game over, with the proceedings ending at 1:17 PM.

Not that it was a waste of everyone’s time. The Red Sox wisely made a fun day out of it by allowing anyone who is 18 or under to attend the game for free. All others were allowed to enter for a $5 donation to the Jimmy Fund. Concessions were dirt cheap, with sodas and hot dogs going for a buck or so. Kids were allowed to run the bases afterward and they kept the concession stands open for a good long while.

The reporters and some fans on the scene were tweeting about how great an atmosphere it was so, hey, not too bad.