Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 11, Twins 2
April, 24, 2012
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- David Ortiz, do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
In at least three previous Aprils, namely 2008 (.121), 2009 (.220), and 2010 (.154), your average through the first 15 games caused many to suggest that your days as one of the game's most feared hitters were coming to an end. Now, a check of the stats shows you leading the American League in hitting, with more hits (28) than you've ever had in April. For the sake of pitchers everywhere, how do you explain this behavior?
"I'm a hitter. I'm a bad [expletive]. That's what it is.''
Mr. Ortiz, that language is not tolerated by this court. But one final question:
May the court please have your autograph?
What was the topic of some debate this winter -- should the Red Sox keep Ortiz for another season? -- sure seems pretty short-sighted right now, doesn't it? Especially with a slimmed-down Ortiz (25 pounds and counting) acting like he could fall out of bed and still hit safely.
In an 11-2 romp over the Twins, Ortiz singled home a run in the Red Sox's three-run first, hit a gigantic two-run home run in the third and drew a walk in five plate appearances, raising his batting average to a league-leading .444. Ortiz, dismayed that the Sox did not give him a multiyear extension in the offseason, predicted in the spring that he would have a great year, saying he hasn't felt this good in years because of an unusual diet that has helped him drop 25 pounds.
Ortiz has nine multihit games this season, including two four-hit games and two three-hit games, and has reached base in 15 of his first 16 games. Anyone else suspect that Ortiz intends to hit until the Sox tear the uniform off him?
* When Jacoby Ellsbury partially dislocated his shoulder, the Red Sox lost the catalyst to an offense that led the majors in runs last season. Bobby Valentine had looked at Mike Aviles in the leadoff spot during spring training, but no one ever really believed that Aviles would dislodge Ellsbury from the leadoff spot.
Well, it happened out of necessity, and Monday night, Aviles homered, doubled twice and singled, scoring three times as the Sox built a 10-1 lead. Know how many times Ellsbury had a similar line as Sox leadoff man: four hits, two doubles and a home run? Zero.
* When the Sox acquired Marlon Byrd in a deal with the Cubs Saturday night, he had just three hits in 43 at-bats this season. He has as many hits in two games with the Red Sox, including two singles and a run scored Tuesday. He also made a nice running catch in center field.
* All the offense made for a relatively easy night for Josh Beckett, who clashed with umpire Adrian Johnson after a rocky first inning, his expletives broadcast live on the MLB Network (which apologized). Beckett then settled down nicely, limiting the Twins to five hits and two runs through six innings. Scott Atchison and Matt Albers tidied up after him.
* The Sox have won two in a row after losing five straight. Clay Buchholz will take the hill Wednesday looking for the sweep.