Left is right for Papi


Left is right for Papi

David Ortiz went 3-for-4 with a home run in last night's win over the Royals, and in the process reinforced his title with apologies to the time Bobby V. forgot Matt Albers name as the undisputed "best story" of this otherwise awful season.

Through 28 games, Ortiz is now hitting .380 (which ranks second in the AL behind Derek Jeter) with seven home runs (4th in the AL), 12 doubles (2nd) and 23 RBI (4th). He also leads the American League with a .443 .OBP.

Not bad for a guy everyone was ready to ship off to the glue factory, eh?

Of all the unexpected greatness, the most surprising comes against lefties; a situation where Ortiz was just about useless for a long stretch of his career.

In 2008, Ortiz he hit .221 against south paws. In 2009, he hit .212. In 2010, .229.

But last year, something clicked.

All of a sudden, Ortiz's average exploded to .329. And this year, he's in another stratosphere, hitting .432, with four of his seven homers coming against left-handers.

While I'm sure he won't keep the pace up all season, the fact that he's even kept it up this long seems to defy everything we thought we knew about the guy.

So, what's his secret?

In the words of Gun N Rose: Welcome to the Jungle!!!

No, wait. I mean: Just a little patience.

It was just about making sense of it, going back to being patient, Ortiz said recently. Lefties were getting me out, but it wasnt them getting me out, it was me getting myself out. I was chasing pitches you just dont hit. The difference between that time and now is that Im not chasing those pitches."

And you can expect much of the same tonight, when Ortiz takes the plate against Royals left-hander Danny Duffy against whom Papi's a career 2-for-2 with two doubles.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air a and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he allowed Brown to catch five of nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his jway from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up nine catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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