The Baseball Desert

Friday, September 30, 2005

Big Time

He did it again.

(photo: AP)
Big Papi had been quiet over the last seven games (5-for-29), but it was only a matter of time before he broke out big again. Last night he had the game-tying and game-winning RBIs in a game that the Red Sox could not afford to lose.

There are players who fail to deliver when the pressure is on, but Ortiz is not one of them - he actually seems to thrive on it. As a DH, he can't save the game with his glove - he knows that the bat is all he has, and he welcomes the opportunity to show what he can do:
"Well, those are situations that I want to get into, when I have those guys in scoring position," said Ortiz. "Then anything can happen -- especially one out, men on first and second, tie game. You had a good pitcher on the mound, but I'll take my chances."
His game-winning hit had Fenway chanting "MVP", but, as ever, Papi was quick to give credit to his teammates, notably Manny:
"He wants to win," Ortiz said of his close friend. "He's very into it. He comes to the field every day with an unbelievable attitude"
and Jonathan Papelbon, who has been lights-out over the last ten games (2 earned runs given up in 13 1/3 innings). Ortiz even went so far as to use the 'C' word:
"That kid, man, I'll tell you; this guy is something else. Somebody said on the TV when I was [swinging the bat], this guy looks like he's been pitching 20 years. Let me tell you, the attitude that he has when he is out there and the concentration ... I tell you, he's going to be the future Roger Clemens of this ballclub. I'm telling you that right now."
So, the Sox are one game behind the Yankees with three to play. Forget about what Cleveland and the White Sox get up this weekend (that's Plan D or F or Z). The Sox control their own destiny here - a sweep would clinch the division, two wins would mean a one-game playoff and one win, well, one win would probably mean "Enjoy the winter and see you in Fort Myers".

I'm not quite ready to start thinking about Spring Training, so enough of my yakkin' - whaddaya say? Let's boogie!