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Big Papi Not So Big and Scary

Fans at Nationals Park -- and I assume a hefty contingent of them will again be Red Sox supporter -- will get a chance to see David Ortiz tonight. For the last six season, Ortiz, who did not play last night, has been one of the most consistent forces in Boston's line up. Reliable. Powerful. Scary.

But he is not having one of those seasons. In 263 at-bats this season, he has only six home runs and 30 RBI. His vision has been checked, and he has been demoted in Boston's batting order. Reports out of Boston have characterized his struggles as a "season-long slump."

There might be one small sign of promise for Ortiz. Against reliever Ron Villone, Ortiz is hitting a career .500 (4 for 8) with one home run and three RBI. Granted, that is not many at-bats. But Ortiz's success rate is pretty high in that limited sampling. Manager Manny Acta grumbled about the bullpen decisions he faces on a nightly basis. Villone is one of the arms he has leaned on the most recently. It will be interesting to see if Villone's history against Big Papi will affect Acta's decisions tonight.

Boston Red Sox
1. Pedroia, 2B
2. Drew, RF
3. Youkilis, 3B
4. Bay, LF
5. Ortiz, 1B
6. Varitek, C
7. Ellsbury, CF
8. Green, SS
9. Lester, P

Washington Nationals
1. Harris, CF
2. Guzman, SS
3. Zimmerman, 3B
4. Johnson, 1B
5. Willingham, LF
6. Dukes, RF
7. Hernandez, 2B
8. Nieves, C
9. Stammen, P

By Mark Viera  |  June 24, 2009; 2:40 PM ET
 
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Comments

Wow, no Dunn. Is this only the second time this year that's happened? Guess they're not showcasing him for a trade with the Sox, huh?

Posted by: nunof1 | June 24, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

IS Manny aware of the history?

Just asking...
________________________________________________________

Villone is one of the arms he has leaned on the most recently. It will be interesting to see if Villone's history against Big Papi will affect Acta's decisions tonight.

Posted by: TimDz | June 24, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

day off for dunn?

Posted by: MrMadison | June 24, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I hate to see Nick out of the 2-hole...he's been fantastic there all year, but I guess the offense did need a shake-up. LET'S DO THIS!!!!

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | June 24, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the Nats leadoff hitter will see more than 1 pitch per plate appearance

Posted by: Brian_ | June 24, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

This is the biggest lineup mismatch in the major leagues so far this year. We need to even it out and put Kearns in their 5 hole.

Posted by: RickFelt | June 24, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Even Manny is sick of Dunn's lollygagging in the outfield/ Of course, if Manny had a pair and made this stance a few weeks ago, Manny would have Dunn available tonight and Dunn'd be better in the OF.

But Manny's as worthless as youknowwhats on a bull.

Posted by: comish4lif | June 24, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"But Manny's as worthless as youknowwhats on a bull."

???...rainbow suspenders?

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | June 24, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Dukes can't hit or catch and is in the game. Dunn can't catch but can't hit and is out. What gives?

Posted by: trezmartin | June 24, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Didja mean like this?

http://blog.masslive.com/redsoxmonster/2007/12/ok_ebay_this_is_where_i_draw_t.html

---

Fans at Nationals Park -- and I assume a hefty contingent of them will again be Red Sox supporter --

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 24, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

But thank goodness there may be hope for Ortiz. Cause I was very worried about that. Really. Other than when Manny will rejoin the Dodgers that concern keeps me awake all night more than anything. Yup.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 24, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Wow, pretty slim basis for a journal entry, Mark.

Two things:

1) No serious baseball writer would ever suggest that a batter's record vs. any pitcher that spans 8 at-bats could or should influence managerial decision-making.

2) About David Ortiz, Mark wrote, "... he is not having one of those seasons. In 263 at-bats this season, he has only six home runs and 30 RBI. His vision has been checked, and he has been demoted in Boston's batting order. Reports out of Boston have characterized his struggles as a 'season-long slump'."

Yeah, sure. Go google the phrase "old news" and then go take a look at Ortiz's splits for the month of June. That's the month we happen to be 3/4ths of the way through, so some might find those numbers relevant.

See that .308/.400/.654 slash line? Notice that he's hit a home run every 10.4 at-bats during June? Do those numbers confirm to you that he's still mired in a 'season-long slump'?

Some might contend that 'doing your homework on the visiting club' means more than scanning the sports page of the May 15th edition of the Boston Globe, and that you should probably have given this particular entry more than 4 or 5 minutes of your valuable time.

Do they pay you to write these things, Mark? Your editors must be so proud.

Posted by: Tom_P | June 24, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

And in June Ortiz is .308 / .400 / .654, with 5 HRs.

Mark - Don't make him mad.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | June 24, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Missed your post, Tom_P.

got to admit that the first time I tried to look up his splits on baseball reference, my browser did not open his 2009 splits off of his player page. I had to go to ESPN.com/mlb, click on "players," click on Red Sox, click on "ortiz, click on splits, before I came up with my stats. That's a lot of work.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | June 24, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree with what Tom wrote about Ortiz.

As for Dunn, Lester's one of the toughest LHP in MLB, despite his 2009 struggles, so it makes sense to give Dunn a rest today.

Posted by: ericp331 | June 24, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Tom_P,

What a pleasure to read your nasty, invective comments. Was that you last week screaming at the coach from the sidelines at your child's little league game?

I'm sure everyone is impressed that there is a "real" baseball guy around to keep the Post's writers on their toes.

Posted by: Natsgal | June 24, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Natsgal, thank you for that kind welcome!

If you're comfortable with sportswriters who phone it in and don't much care about the accuracy of what they write, more power to you. You're clearly satisfied with misleading and sloppy writing, and I'm OK with that. Enjoy! Lots of people are happy to believe whatever they're told.

But when I see a professional writer sleeping on the job, I consider it my civic responsibility to wake him up. I'm sorry if you thought my comments were nasty -- they were certainly no nastier than your comments to me. (Please don't go to any little league games with that chip on your shoulder -- it's a bad example for the kids.)

I'm also sorry that you apparently believe the word "invective" is an adjective, but, hey, it's a free country. Words are your servants! I admire how you boldly ignore the rules and make them obey you!

Posted by: Tom_P | June 24, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

jca-CrystalCity, I'm having the same trouble with B-R this year. I'm used to them updating overnight, but this year, they seem to off their regular schedule. I've seen them two or three days behind on more than one occasion.

As much as I hate to do it, I'm going to ESPN.com for most of my stat updates lately, too.

Posted by: Tom_P | June 24, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

So, how 'bout that season-long slump Ortiz is in, Mark?

Think there's any chance he'll break out of it?

Posted by: Tom_P | June 24, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

morning after- Big Papi 2 for 3, 3 RBI's and 5 total bases. In 6 innings. Still not so big not so scarey?

Posted by: dboston | June 25, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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