The Time of Papi


The Time of Papi

In case you couldn't tell from the violent screams shooting out of John Henry's yacht, the Red Sox lost again today.

Once again, they went down fighting which is nice. But the problem, as usual, is that it took them eight innings to start fighting.

Anyway, if you missed the latest comeback attempt, the Sox went into the ninth down 3-1. Jacoby Ellsbury kicked things off with a walk. Dustin Pedroia followed that with a walk. So that made it runners on first and second, with nobody out, for Adrian Gonzalez.

And wouldn't you know? Gonzalez came up HUGE with a sac fly.

(I know that he's been solid, but I'm still waiting for Gonzalez to come through in one of these situations. On one hand, it's hard to get too angry, because even when Gonzalez falls on his face, he finds a way to be useful. Worst-case scenario, it's a sacrifice fly. But the bottom line is that this team is dying for something to get excited about, and since Opening Day, Gonzalez has had a few real opportunities to make it happen. So far, it's sac flies.)

OK, so now it was runners on second and third, with one out, and the Blue Jays brought in their closer Sergio Santos (who blew the save on Monday) to face the artist formerly known as Kevin Youkilis. Believe it or not, Youk struck out.

So now, with two outs, and the tying run on second base, the entire game now rested on the shoulders of David Ortiz.

Papi stepped plate, set his feet, calked his bat and was ready to roll

Quick question: Remember when this felt automatic?

Remember when there was no more confident moment in all of Boston sports than watching David Ortiz take the plate in the ninth inning of a close game? T

There's no one on this team who can even come close to inspiring that kind of confidence. Not Pedroia, not Ellsbury, not Shoppach and sadly, not even Big Papi himself.

He grounded out to short.

The Sox are 1-5.

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Moreland not worried about filling Ortiz's shoes because 'there's no replacing him'

Moreland not worried about filling Ortiz's shoes because 'there's no replacing him'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mitch Moreland knows he's likely the only new player in Boston's lineup since David Ortiz retired at the end of last season.

He's just not listening to those who say he needs to replace Big Papi's lofty production.

"I try not to hear it because there's no replacing that guy," said the 31-year-old first baseman, who signed a one-year, $5.5-million deal with the Red Sox during the offseason.

"I think it's going to be more of a team effort," he said. "Obviously we picked up two big arms as well, and it's a very balanced club."

After playing his first six-plus seasons in the majors with the Texas Rangers, Moreland is with a new organization for the first time in his career. So far, he said, the move has been smooth.

"They welcomed me from Day One," he said. "Handshakes and hugs right off the bat. It's going to be a lot of fun. You can see why they had so much success last year."

Coming off a subpar 2016 with a .233 batting average, 22 homers and 60 RBI, Moreland tested free agency. He wanted to go to a team that had a good chance at competing for a championship -- like he felt with the Rangers.

"Something that was at the top of my list as a player," he said. "If I was going to be on a team, I wanted a team that had a chance to win. It makes it that much more fun to come to the park every day when something's on the line and you're fighting for a chance to play in the playoffs, fighting to win the division and fighting to win a World Series."

A first-time Gold Glove winner last season, Moreland knows the defending A.L. East champion Red Sox wanted his defensive skills at first to allow Hanley Ramirez to shift to Ortiz's vacated DH spot.

"It gives you a little more confidence," Moreland said. "I take pride in that. That's going to be my main goal, to go out and show what they saw."

A left-handed batter like Ortiz, Moreland knows some people will expect him to fill the void offensively because of which side of the plate he bats from.

"I think it'll be a group effort picking up what will be missing," he said. "There's no replacing that guy."

Manager John Farrell also said the club needs to move on from Ortiz so Moreland and everyone else can relax and focus on their own game.

"David's effect on the lineup was felt by a number of people. We know opponents would game plan for David," Farrell said. "I think it's important for our guys - as we put David out of our mind, in a good way - that it's still a focus on what their strengths are in the strike zone."

The transition may be easy for Moreland so far, but one thing has certainly changed: spending spring training in Florida instead of Arizona.

"Fishing's a lot different than Arizona, so that's nice," he said.

NOTES: "We're getting a firsthand look to why he's been so successful and an elite pitcher," Farrell said after left-hander Chris Sale pitched batting practice. The Red Sox acquired Sale from the Chicago White Sox in an offseason trade for four prospects. They also acquired right-handed, hard-throwing setup man Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee . . . Farrell said righty Steven Wright, who missed the final two months of the season with a shoulder injury, "was unrestricted in his throwing." . . . The Red Sox will have a shorter workout Tuesday with the players association set to talk to the team and the organization's annual charity golf tournament in the afternoon.

Report from the Fort: Trenni and Lou discuss pitching

Report from the Fort: Trenni and Lou discuss pitching

Trenni Kusnierek and Lou Merloni comment on Tyler Thornburg's, Steven Wright's and Drew Pomeranz's work at Red Sox training camp on Monday.