Boston Red Sox

Nation STATion: The David Ortiz 300

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Nation STATion: The David Ortiz 300

By Bill Chuck
Special to CSNNE.com

Red Sox Nation should be really happy to get out of this weekend taking two-of-three from the Cubs after Jon Lester had an off night and the next two Sox starters were Alfredo Aceves and Tim Wakefield. It was a sloppy weekend of baseball and as far as Im concerned, once every 93 years playing the Cubs is quite sufficient for me.

So on a rainy Monday morning, I need sunshine and thats why Im thinking about David Ortiz. Baseball is filled with milestones, we love to celebrate round numbers, but I dont think we really gave enough respect and love to the fact the Big Papi now has 300 homers in a Red Sox uni.

Perhaps you dont realize that with all the greats in this teams history, only five players have gone deep 300 times for the Sox:

Player
HR
From
To
G
Ted Williams
521
1939
1960
2292
Carl Yastrzemski
45219611983
3308
Jim Rice
38219741989
2089
Dwight Evans
379197219902505David Ortiz
300200320111184
Ortiz has hit 358 homers in his career with the Twins and the Sox, but its hard to picture him not giving those post-homer props to those up above in anything other than in Boston garb. Right from the start, Papi had a flair for drama. His first homer for the Red Sox was against Mickey Callaway of the Angels on April 27, 2003 in the top of the 14th, the Sox won that, 6-4. And once he started going deep, he didnt stop.

Here are the Big Papi big homer seasons:

YearHR200654
20054720044120073520103220033120092820082320119

He, and we, know about his slow starts. Here are his monthly totals:

YearHR200654200547200441200735201032200331
Of the 300, he has made right-hand pitchers pay 237 times, while 63 have been hit against lefties. Hes hit 136 homers when he was ahead on the count, 128 when it was an even count (including 49 on the first pitch, his favorite pitch to homer), and 36 when he was behind on the count. Hes had five 3-0 count homers and just two 0-2 count homers. Hes hit 43 homers on a full count.

Ortiz has homered off of 209 pitchers. Here are his faves:

Roy Halladay
6
Seth McClung
4Matt Garza
4Gil Meche
4Josh Towers
4Kevin Milwood
4Scot Shields
3Pat Hentgen
3A.J. Burnett
3Ramon Ortiz
3Javier Vazquez
3Jeremy Guthrie
3James Shields
3Jon Lieber
3Dan haren
3Mike Mussina
3Joel Pineiro
3Ryan Franklin
3
He has pulled 156 homers to right field, hit 117 to the centerfield area, and 27 homers have gone to the opposite field.

He has homered off 25 different opponents:

TOR37
TBR33NYY31BAL28ANA22TEX21SEA18CHW16DET15OAK14CLE11MIN10KCR9ATL7PHI5FLA5MIL4CHC3ARI2SFG2LAD2WSN2COL1STL1NYM1
With 129 dingers coming against the AL East (43).

Papi has homered in 24 ballparks, 141 at home and 159 on the road:

Park
Fenway Park
141Sky Dome
24Tropicana Field
20Yankee Stadium
15Camden Yards
13Rangers Ballpark
12US Cellular Field
10Comerica Park
10Safeco Field
9Angel Stadium
7Turner Field
6Network Assoc
6Jacobs Field
5Yankee Stadium
4Kauffman Stadium
4Dolphon Stadium
3AT&T Park
2Citizens Park
2Wrigley Field
2Miller Park
1Metrodome1Nationals Park
1Busch Stadium
1Coors Field
1
Ortiz has hit 97 homers in innings 1-3, 116 homers in the 4th through 6th innings, and 87 from the 7th inning on:

Inning
150218329442540634730829921107
His homer count by inning is obviously affected by where Ortiz was hitting in the batting order. You can see why the 2nd inning has been his least productive home run inning by noting that only 40 of his homers have been when he has hit clean-up:

OrderHR3rd
1905th504th406th167th38th1
His 300 homers have produced 574 RBI. He has homered in 265 different Sox games:

Year Games
20032520043820053820064820073120082020092720102920119
With 35 two-homer games (116 RBI):

Year Games
2005920066200362007420083201032004320091
But Papi has never hit three homers in a game for the Sox, but 35 times Ortiz has hit homers in two consecutive games; the last time was September 27-28, 2007. And, 12 times, Ortiz has hit homers in three consecutive games; the last time was September 23-25, 2009.

He has endured homerless streaks and weve suffered with him:

Streak Start
End
Games
AB
2008-09-192009-05-19
381452011-04-03
2011-05-0124822008-08-162008-09-0619682007-05-102007-06-0319692009-09-292010-09-0516602010-08-202010-09-051560
But when he hits homers, he has a huge smile and we smile as well. Of his homers, 117 have put the Sox ahead in the game and 25 have tied the score.

These 300 homers, of course, dont include his 12 postseason homers, but they do include his walkoffs. Ortiz has 10 walkoff homers in his career. Ironically, his last homer for the Twins was a walkoff homer and there have been nine moments of unabashed joy as David Ortiz bashed a walkoff homer:

DateOppPitcher
Score
Inn
Out
RBI
2003-09-23BAL
Kurt Ainsworth
Tied 5-5
b10
0
1
2004-04-11TOR
Aquilino Lopez
Tied 4-4
b12
0
2
2005-06-02
BAL
B.J. Ryan
Down 4-3
b9
2
3
2005-09-06LAA
Scot Shields
Tied 2-2
b9
1
1
2006-06-11
TEXAkinori Otsuka
Down 4-2b9232006-06-24PHITom Gordon
Tied 3-3
b10122006-07-31CLEFausto Carmona
Down 8-6
b9132007-09-12TBDAlberto Reyes
Down 4-3
b9122009-08-26CHWTony Pena
Tied 2-2
b911
Well there you have it, a little sunshine on a rainy Monday morning. And if you want a little more, heres a great David Ortiz video that I posted on my daily national baseball column at Billy-Ball.com.

Thanks Big Papi, for 300 blasts (with many more to come).

Nation STATion uses www.Baseball-Reference.com for statistical support.

How Drew Pomeranz, 2nd best lefty in the American League, can be even better

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How Drew Pomeranz, 2nd best lefty in the American League, can be even better

BOSTON — Drew Pomeranz may not technically be the No. 2 for the Red Sox in this year’s presumed American League Division Series. Maybe the Red Sox will mix in a right-hander between Pomeranz and Chris Sale.

Either way, everyone knows which pitcher, in spirit, has been the second-most reliable for the Red Sox. A day after Chris Sale notched his 300th strikeout and on the final off-day of the regular season, it’s worth considering the importance of the other excellent lefty on the Sox, and how much he’s meant to a team that’s needed surprise performances because of the lineup’s drop-off.

Per FanGraphs’ wins above replacement, Pomeranz is the second-most valuable lefthanded starter among those qualified in the American League (you know who's No. 1). He's one of the 10 best starters in the AL overall.

MORE RED SOX:

The 28-year-old Pomeranz was a first-round pick seven years ago. But he didn’t exactly blossom until the last two years. He has a 3.15 ERA in 165 2/3 innings. His next start, if decent, should give him a career-high in innings after he threw 170 2/3 last year.

Pomeranz is a 16-game winner, just one win behind Sale. The value of wins and losses is known to be nil, but there’s still a picture of reliability that can be gleaned.

Is this the year Pomeranz became the pitcher he always envisioned he would be?

“I don’t know, I mean, I had a pretty dang good year last year,” Pomeranz said, referring to a 3.32 ERA between the Padres and Sox, and an All-Star selection. “I think these last two years have been kind of you know, more what I wanted to be like. But I still, I don’t think I’m done yet, you know what I mean?”

Most pro athletes say there’s always room to improve. Pomeranz, however, was able to specify what he wants. The focus is on his third and fourth pitches: his cutter and his change-up. 

“My change-up’s been really good this year,” Pomeranz said. “That’s something that still can go a lot further. And same with my cutter too. I still use it sparingly. I don’t think me just being a six-inning guy is the end of it for me either.

“You set personal goals. You want to throw more innings, cover more innings so the bullpen doesn’t have to cover those. Helps save them for right now during the year.”

Early in the year, Pomeranz wasn’t using his cutter much. He threw just nine in April, per BrooksBaseball.net. That led to talk that he wasn’t throwing the pitch to take it easy on his arm. He did start the year on the disabled list, after all, and cutters and sliders can be more stressful on the elbow and forearm.

That wasn’t the case.

“The reason I didn’t throw it in the beginning of the year was because half the times I threw it went the other way,” Pomeranz said. “It backed up. Instead of cutting, it was like sinking or running back. I mean, I pitched [in Baltimore] and gave up a home run to [Manny] Machado, we were trying to throw one in and it went back. So I didn’t trust it.

“Mechanical thing. I was still trying to clean my mechanics up, and once I cleaned ‘em up and got my arm slot right, then everything started moving the way it was supposed to and then I started throwing it more.”

Pomeranz’s cutter usage, and how he developed the pitch heading into 2016, has been well documented.

The change-up is more of an X-factor. He threw five in each of his last two starts, per Brooks, and it’s a pitch he wants to use more.

“It’s been good,” Pomeranz said. “I think I could throw it a lot more and a lot more effectively, and ... tweaking of pitch selection probably could help me get into some of those later innings too.”

Well, then why not just throw the change more often? Easier said than done when you’re talking about your fourth pitch in a key moment.

“I throw a few a game,” Pomeranz said. “Sometimes you feel like you don’t want too throw it in situations where you get beat with your third or fourth best pitch. I mean it’s felt — every time I’ve thrown it it’s been consistent. It’s just a matter of, it’s something me and Vazqy [Christian Vazquez] talk about too." 

(When you hear these kind of issues, which most pitchers deal with, it makes you appreciate Sale’s ability to throw any pitch at any time even more.)

Speaking on Wednesday, the day after Pomeranz’s most recent outing, Sox pitching coach Willis said he thinks the change-up’s already starting to have a greater presence.

“He’s kind of always had a changeup, and he hadn’t had any trust or conviction in that pitch,” Willis said. “I was really excited last night that he used the changeup more. He threw it. He doubled up with it on occasion. Something that’s not in the scouting report.

"It’s his fourth pitch and he seldom threw it in a game and he’s in a situation where, OK, the change-up’s the right pitch, but location of whatever I throw is going to outweigh [selection]. Now he’s starting to gain that confidence [that he can locate it]. 

“I think that’s going to make him an extremely better pitcher. I thought it was a huge factor in his outing last night. Because he didn’t have his best velocity. He really did a good job of changing speeds with the changeup, and obviously with the curveball and being able to give different shapes of the pitches.”

The Sox already have the best left-hander in the AL, if not anywhere. The AL's second-best southpaw happens to pitch on the same team, and has tangible plans to be even better.

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Werner criticizes Price for Eck incident; says Sox' relationship with Yanks is 'frosty'

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Werner criticizes Price for Eck incident; says Sox' relationship with Yanks is 'frosty'

BOSTON — Red Sox chairman Tom Werner doesn’t seem to be the biggest fan of the the Yankees, MLB disciplinarian Joe Torre, and players who can’t take criticism from broadcasters.

In a spot Thursday with WEEI, Werner made clear David Price’s handling of Dennis Eckersley was unprofessional.

“Boston is a tough place to play,” Werner said on WEEI’s Ordway, Merlonia and Fauria. “Some players thrive here, and some players don’t. Get a thicker skin. My feeling is, let the broadcasts be honest, be personable, informative, and get over it if you think a certain announcer took a shot at you.”

“I thought there was a way of handling that. It wasn’t handled appropriately. If I’ve got a problem with Lou [Merloni], and I hear something he says on the radio, I’ll say to Lou, ‘That wasn’t fair.’ ”

Werner also called the team’s relationship with the Yankees “frosty” following the public sign-stealing saga that resulted in fines for both clubs.

“The fact is, I do think this was a minor technical violation,” Werner said. “I start with the fact that this was unfortunately raised to a level it never should have been raised to.”

Werner also insinuated he did not approve of how MLB and Torre handled the disciplining of Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, who receieved a four-game suspension for his part in a fight against the Tigers (reduced on appeal to three games).

“Do you think Gary Sanchez got an appropriate punishment?” Werner asked.