David Ortiz is 1-for-15 in the American League Championship Series. That one hit was a good one — a game-tying grand slam in Game 2 — but it’s the other 14 at-bats that have him and the rest of the Red Sox shaking their heads.
“This is [the] playoffs. Everybody brings their best. The way they’ve been pitching is a whole totally different game,” Ortiz said of Detroit’s starters, according to WEEI.com. “They’re taking things to another level, which is what you’re supposed to do in the playoffs.”
The Red Sox got another taste of how good the Tigers’ starting pitching can be Wednesday night when Doug Fister — the presumed weak link in the order of Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander — went six innings and struck out seven without giving up a run. Detroit’s starters have allowed just three runs in 27 total innings, and they’ve struck out the Red Sox 42 times.
“Their starting pitching has been outstanding,” Ortiz said. “That guy [Fister] that started the game [Wednesday night], that was impressive. He was painting everything. His breaking ball was better than what I have ever seen. He was spotting his changeup. He was throwing the pitch he wanted in whatever count. There isn’t any better than that.”
Ortiz couldn’t give a reason for Detroit’s success against the Red Sox except that the Tigers are just getting it done. He said scouting reports help, but players still have to pull it off — “and they’re executing perfectly fine.”
“They’re pitching well,” he said. “That’s all I can tell you. They’re throwing the ball where they want to, in the situation they want to and not making mistakes.”
The ALCS is knotted at two games apiece, with one game remaining in Detroit and either one or two at Fenway Park. The Red Sox, whose two wins have come by just one run, are facing the top three of Sanchez, Scherzer and Verlander again.
But no matter how befuddled the Tigers have the Sox so far, Ortiz wasn’t conceding just yet.
“Just because I’m saying they’re good doesn’t mean it’s over,” he said. “We’re going to come back and play tomorrow. I give credit to whoever deserves it. They deserve credit. They’ve been pitching their [butts] off. There’s nothing to do but come back and compete tomorrow.”
Ortiz still knows, after all, how to execute when the Tigers don’t, even if it’s just one stray pitch.