Hanley Ramirez revealed in a recent Players’ Tribune post that the Boston Red Sox set a goal in spring training to get David Ortiz a World Series ring in his final season.
And so far, that plan is not going well at all.
Well, it was going well, for a while, at least. The Red Sox surpassed all their expectations in the regular season, pulling themselves out of the American League East’s basement to win the division with a 93-69 record. But since their postseason actually has begun, it’s been a poor showing all-around.
Game 1 of their AL Division Series against Cleveland saw ace Rick Porcello give up five runs over just 4 1/3 innings, while the offense completely forgot how to hit breaking balls, which the Indians capitalized on in a 5-4 loss. Game 2 was even worse, as starter David Price gave up five runs in 3 1/3 innings. The offense didn’t show up at all, either, and was three-hit by Indians starter Corey Kluber in a 6-0 shutout.
In other words, there’s potential for a pretty disappointing sendoff for Ortiz.
Make no mistake: Ortiz has been part of the Red Sox’s baffling 0-2 start to the ALDS. The designated hitter has gone 1-for-8 while leaving seven men on base so far, which is very un-Papi-like. But overall, this team hasn’t looked like the same one from the regular season.
The series is far from over. The Red Sox play again Sunday at Fenway Park, where they have a great track record, and they have a history of comebacks on their side. But mostly, it would be a shame if the Red Sox got this far, only to end Ortiz’s final season on a series sweep.
Plenty of players go out without getting a ring. The New York Yankees didn’t even make the playoffs in Mariano Rivera’s or Derek Jeter’s final seasons in 2013 and 2014, respectively. But most players also don’t have the final season Ortiz had, batting .315 with 38 homers, 127 RBIs and a 1.021 OPS at the age of 40.
The fact of the matter is, the Red Sox actually have a chance to win the World Series, as many pegged them as the AL favorite before the postseason began. But if they really want to send Ortiz out with a bang, they’ll have to start playing like the team that got him this far.
Thumbnail photo via David Richard/USA TODAY Sports Images