Well David Ortiz has taken his last plate appearance in the major leagues thanks to the Red Sox failure to generate offense, the excellence of Cleveland’s defense and the inferiority of Red Sox pitching suggesting once again that without pitching and defense, even a David Ortiz is not enough to guarantee a team a world series.
I say his last plate appearance rather than his last at bats because neither of his two final plate appearances credited him with an at bat. He had a sacrifice fly which drove in a run on third and a walk to finish his Red Sox career.
I’d like to talk about the latter.
There were many moving tributes to David Ortiz during the year and after last night’s game many more but the final tribute to him came during the bottom of the 8th inning.
Ortiz came up as the tying run with a man on first. This was a critical moment in the game, a moment where if the Red Sox had managed to tie the game all bets were off. Terry Francona, the manager of Cleveland well knew that giving this Red Sox team a lifeline by a win might turn into disaster and David Ortiz was the man to create this disaster.
So with the game on the line what did Cleveland do? Intentionally walk him? They could not, because with first base full that would imply fear and the best way inspire confidence in an opponent in baseball is to imply fear.
No what happened is Cleveland’s pitcher threw four pitches, and not a single one was in a spot where David Ortiz could hit it. Even though walking Ortiz put the dangerous Hanley Ramirez at the plate who could easily give the Sox the lead with one swing (and managed to drive in one run with a single) it didn’t matter. The game was on the line and the Cleveland Indians had no intention of letting the best clutch hitter in the history of the Boston Red Sox franchise, the hitter that carried the Red Sox fan base to one that expects success from one that anticipates failure on his own shoulders. The man who got the crowd into the game with a wave of his hands.
As I said there were many tributes to Ortiz this year and he likely at least one the Hall of Fame in five years and a shot at the MVP this year, but for my money the greatest tribute to Ortiz this year was the fact that at age 40, the Cleveland Indians decided that with game 3 on the line of a series they were already up 2-0 in David Ortiz would not get a pitch to hit.
I suspect the Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals, LA Dodgers and San Francisco Giants were very grateful for that decision.