Three things we learned about the Red Sox on Saturday

Three things we learned about the Red Sox on Saturday
August 17, 2014, 2:00 am
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Three things we learned about the Red Sox in Saturday's 10-7 win over the Astros.

1. The Sox aren't rolling over and dying.

No, you're not going to hear the old "anything can happen" speech right now.

The Red Sox are not going to make a late playoff push, sorry.

But . . . they're also not just mailing in the rest of the season. If anything, their offense has looked the best its been all season. Granted, it's coming against the lowly Houston Astros, but it's there. It's real. You can see it for once!

On a night where Rubby De La Rosa allowed baserunner after baserunner, the Sox hung around, and hung around . . . and ORTIZ BOMB!

It's their fifth win in six games, and second time this series that they've batted around in the order (they did it in the seven-run 6th inning on Thursday).

This isn't the NBA. There is no "tanking". The Sox are still leaving it all out there on the field, led by their 400-homer man Ortiz, who gives a very simple answer on why he continues to mash despite the team being out of contention.

'Pride. You need to have pride in what you do," Ortiz said. "You got to make sure you go 100-percent out there and you play your best. The fans come in to watch you play and you have to give them what you expect."

2. David Ortiz is better at hitting a baseball than you are.
 
Assuming the immortal Troy O'Leary isn't reading this one, the above statement holds true.

Also true: Ortiz is now tops in the Majors among all left-handed hitters in home runs (28) and RBI (91). Ortiz came into this game trailing Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo by one home run, but his two Saturday night leap-frogged Rizzo. He already led the way in RBI, but expanded his lead after tying a career-high with six RBI. Ortiz also moved up to third among left-handed hitters in extra-base hits with 51. He's behind Michael Brantley (52) and Freddie Freeman (56).

What does all of this mean? It means that at age 38 Ortiz is having a remarkable year. Despite the .252 average, he's a lock to go over 30 home runs and 100 RBI, no small feat especially for somebody getting up there in age. He's been the team's offense all season (which I know isn't saying much - but come on).

Aside from Yoenis Cespedes, the player next on the Sox in RBI is Dustin Pedroia with 45. So yes, Ortiz has more than double the RBI than the second-highest player on the team this season. Yeesh.

"Every time David comes to the plate," Farrell said, "you think there's an opportunity or a chance we might see the ball go out of the ballpark. And on two occasions tonight that was the case."

It's unfair to expect numbers like this for Ortiz next season, or the next, but then again it feels like every season we're waiting for a steep decline and it doesn't come. The day will obviously come (maybe?), and when it does you hope that GM Ben Cherington has done enough to make up for it.

Cespedes is certainly a good start and somebody that may help with the post-Ortiz years if in fact the team does re-sign him after next season.

But it is kind of wild to think that a 38-year-old is still the bulk of the team's offense.

3. Daniel Nava is coming around, but . . .

The good news for Daniel Nava is that he's found his stroke again. After an abysmal start to the season in which he was demoted to the PawSox in order to right his wrongs at the plate, Nava has turned things around since being recalled to the team on June 2.

On Saturday, he went 3-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI, his third straight multi-hit game. Since being recalled, he's hitting .331 (54-for-163) with a .399 OBP.

You'll also remember he gunned out Jake Marisnick at the plate on Thursday.

But while Nava can enjoy this now, he may find himself on the bench again very soon.

With Allen Craig set for a rehab assignment on Monday, he could be back on the field in Fenway by the middle of the week. That will obviously cut into Nava's playing time, and we'll probably have a platoon-type situation on our hands.