David Ortiz has arguably been the most important player on the Red Sox roster during the 2012 season. But the All-Star slugger suffered a minor setback on Monday night and is expected to be out of the lineup for at least a few days.
Ortiz, who leads Boston with a .316 batting average, 23 home runs and 58 RBIs, will likely miss at least a week of playing time and the Red Sox will need to look elsewhere to make up for his production in the meantime.
The returns of outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford couldn’t have come at a better time, as Ortiz’ bat will surely be missed during his time out of action. Adrian Gonzalez has also reemerged of late, finally rediscovering the stroke that saw him finish second in the AL in batting (.338) last season. All three guys will surely be relied upon to keep Boston’s offensive spark lit until Big Papi is healed.
But while the offense may need a boost in his absence, the starting pitching will also have to carry some of the load. Jon Lester gets the start on Tuesday night, followed by Felix Doubront and potentially Clay Buchholz to close out the Chicago series, but the staff as a whole needs to find more stable production. That means Josh Beckett‘s first inning lapses must halt and Aaron Cook needs to keep up the unbelievable consistency he’s displayed on the mound thus far.
In Ortiz’ absence, an individual or a combination of folks must step up. But who do you think is most important to the Red Sox success?