Remember that slump David Ortiz went through? That was pretty funny, huh?
Ortiz had a monster game as part of the Red Sox’ 12-5 win over the Twins on Saturday, and in the process, he effectively reassured us that his slow start to the month of May isn’t anything to be concerned about.
Ortiz went 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs, a single, a walk and six RBIs on Saturday, marking the second straight game that the slugger reached base safely four times. Ortiz went 3-for-4 with a walk and an RBI in Friday’s series-opening victory in Minnesota, and his free pass came in the 10th inning of a tie ballgame.
It’s hard to believe that Ortiz, who suddenly looks locked in at the plate again, stumbled through an 0-for-17 stretch earlier this month. Ortiz finished April with a .500 average (18-for-36), but a 9-for-47 start to May dropped his average down to .325, and his on-base percentage went from .513 to .360. The drastic drop is due largely to the sample size becoming much greater, but it took until Friday — his 14th game of the month — to record his first multi-hit game of May. That was after finishing April with five multi-hit performances in the Red Sox’ final six games of the month. (So much for that whole April showers bringing May flowers thing.)
The slump appears to be long gone, though, and Saturday’s big game was exactly what the Red Sox needed. Ryan Dempster was very inefficient through his 4 2/3 innings. He surrendered five runs and labored through 127 pitches while yielding a season-high eight hits and six walks. Dempster was lucky that the Twins couldn’t capitalize on a few golden opportunities, but he was even luckier that Ortiz was spearheading an offensive attack that provided plenty of run support.
Despite Dempster’s struggles, the Red Sox never trailed, and Ortiz was a big reason why. The slugger kicked off the scoring with a three-run home run in the first inning, and he answered the Twins’ run in the bottom of the second with an RBI single in the top of the third. Then, after Minnesota pulled within two runs with a three-run fifth inning, Ortiz helped put the game out of reach with a two-run blast in the seventh.
The Twins were constantly playing catch-up, and it was mostly playing catch-up against one man. That isn’t to take anything away from the rest of the Red Sox offense — a unit that generated 12 runs on 13 hits — but Ortiz’s effort was something to behold. And given the recent circumstances, it was the most encouraging of the team’s offensive performances.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised. Ortiz always kills his former team, and he’s been particularly good since the Twins moved to their new home at Target Field. Sometimes you just need a little reassurance, though, and smacking baseballs all over the place will provide just that.
Ortiz seems to be heating up once again. It’s no coincidence that the rest of the Red Sox are following suit.