The final three games of David Ortiz’s regular-season career were a cause for joyous celebration. His two most recent postseason games have been quite the opposite.
Ortiz’s Boston Red Sox were blanked by the Cleveland Indians 6-0 at Progressive Field on Friday, falling into an 0-2 deficit in their best-of-five American League Division Series. After a 93-win season and an AL East title, they’re now one game away from Ortiz’s Major League Baseball career ending with an early playoff exit.
Ortiz was one of several Red Sox hitters who failed to deliver Friday, going 0-for-4 with three runners left on base. The 40-year-old designated hitter now is 1-for-8 in the 2016 playoffs, and his frustration appeared to boil over after Friday’s game.
Here’s what Big Papi said in Boston’s locker room when a reporter pointed out that he seemed particularly angry:
“Should I be happy? We’re getting our asses beat. It’s nothing to celebrate.”
Ortiz also was asked if he was surprised by the results of the last two games, and responded with a similar bluntness.
“Why should I be?” he said. “They’re playing better than what we are.”
Ortiz has a point. The Red Sox’s offense has struggled mightily, going just 13-for-65 (.200 batting average) over the first two games with 22 strikeouts. Their two best starters, Rick Porcello and David Price, allowed a total of 10 runs over a combined 7 2/3 innings in two underwhelming showings.
The Indians, meanwhile, have played with a brimming confidence, getting a clutch performance from Corey Kluber in Game 2 and stepping up at the plate in key moments.
So, what does Ortiz think Boston needs to do to turn things around? In his eyes, it’s simple.
“Gotta do better and pitch better,” Ortiz said.
Big Papi spoke like a certain New England Patriots head coach who will be in Cleveland on Sunday to take on the Browns, offering a curt answer to each question he faced. Despite his frustration, though, Ortiz still isn’t giving up hope as the team returns for Boston for Game 3 on Monday.
“We’ve got no choice,” Ortiz said. “Gotta go home now and play better.”
“It’s part of the game, man,” he added. “But I know we’re better than that. Just gotta come and play better.”
Thumbnail photo via David Richard/USA TODAY Sports Images