Saturday afternoon, the Red Sox played the Detroit Tigers in Fenway Park in the second game of a three game series. The Red Sox had won the first game on Friday, breaking a seven game losing streak when Xander Bogaerts had hit a single to center scoring Mookie Betts from second base with the winning run in the eleventh inning.
The Sox had fallen to twelve games behind the Yankees, in last place in the American League East, before the game. Most fans thought that the Red Sox season was over but the stirring victory brought the Fenway crowd to life.
The next afternoon, in Game 2 of the Tiger series, the Sox fell quickly behind and trailed 5-1 going into the last of the sixth inning.
In the last of the sixth, with Tigers starter Alfredo Simon still on the mound and one out, David Ortiz came to the plate. Ortiz hit a ground ball back to the pitcher and was thrown out at first base. Unfortunately, the pitcher dropped the ball after fielding it but picked it up and still got Ortiz easily at first.
The reason he was still out easily was because he did not bother to run to first until he saw the pitcher drop the ball. Prior to that, he was loafing his way down the baseline as he always does unless he is sure he has hit safely.
In the recent Houston series, on a checked swing, Ortiz hit a little looper that fell between the fielders in right for a hit. Off the bat, it looked like an easy out and Ortiz did not bother to run that one out until it was falling safely.
When it was recently suggested that he play first base for the good of the team, rather than just do what was best for the team, he had to complain about it. To his credit, he never refused to play first base and did, in fact, play there for a few games.
David Ortiz has been Mr. Clutch for the Red Sox for 13 years. Looking at his numbers over the years, he has more than earned his salary as a designated hitter. This year, it appears his skills as a hitter have begun to fade as he is hitting just .235 and only .176 against left handed pitching. With runners in scoring position, he is hitting a terrible .150.
The Red Sox have a fine group of young players in Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Brock Holt, Christian Vasquez, Eddy Rodriguez, Blake Swihart and others. They are going through a difficult season, mainly because of weak pitching from what looked like a capable staff and weak hitting by several veterans.
The team sometimes looks like they are going through the motions knowing that they are going nowhere. Instead of leading the way by setting a good example, Ortiz continues to display his better than anybody else attitude.
David Ortiz is not the only problem the Red Sox have but his ‘its all about me’ attitude and lack of hustle are certainly not helping the team through this difficult period. Its about time the Manager required as much effort from him as he does from his youngsters. As Lou Piniella used to say ‘ Baseball is a results driven industry ‘ centered on not what you did for me yesterday but on what you will do for me today or in the future.
Ortiz is being paid $15. million dollars this year, he should be expected and required to put in reasonable effort for that salary, even if he can’t perform up to previous performance levels.
If Farrell won’t hold all his players to an equal standard maybe they need a new manager.