Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona knows better than just about anyone what David Ortiz is capable of with a baseball bat in his hands. Despite that, Francona still opted to go with the numbers.
Ortiz made him pay for that decision on Thursday night.
Francona opted to pitch to Ortiz in the fifth inning on Thursday night with a base open instead of putting the Boston Red Sox designated hitter on base. Naturally, Ortiz blasted a two-run home run give the Sox a 3-0 lead in the fifth inning. Boston would go on to win the game 5-2.
The natural inclination is to second-guess Francona and the Indians. However, Ortiz 0-for-2 in the game against Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin, and he was 0-for-10 in his career against the right-handed starter. After a mound visit from Cleveland pitching coach Mickey Callaway, the decision was made.
“There was no conversation about walking him,” Francona told reporters, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “He was 0-for-10 agianst Josh. I know what David can do. I’ve seen him do it, but Napoli hit the next ball off the wall. We wanted to get him out.”
They went right after Ortiz, and Tomlin got the first pitch over for strike one. However, the pitcher’s next offering was a big mistake, and Ortiz sent it into orbit.
“There was no conversation about walking him,” Tomlin insisted, according to the Plain-Dealer. “There was a conversation that we can get this guy out, but we have to do it in a smart way. I made a mistake. I was trying to go away with the pitch and it cut back over the plate.”
Francona also knows how good Ortiz can be when mistakes are made, and the veteran skipper got another reminder of that Thursday night.