David Ortiz is giving everyone a reason to watch the 2015 Boston Red Sox.
Ortiz’s offensive surge continued Wednesday when the slugger launched two home runs against the Miami Marlins to increase his career total to 491. It’s officially fair to wonder whether Ortiz will reach 500 home runs this season despite Boston’s slow crawl toward the finish line.
The Red Sox return home Friday with 48 games remaining, meaning Ortiz could hit one homer every five games and reach the milestone during the final week of the season. That’s a reasonable expectation for a guy with 25 home runs in 104 games this season (an average of one homer every 4.16 games).
Boston’s schedule down the stretch should help Ortiz in his quest to reach 500 home runs, as the Red Sox will play out the string under some homer-happy circumstances, as detailed below.
(All stats as of Thursday afternoon.)
Home games (26) at Fenway Park (1.89 HR/G, T-10th in AL)
— Three versus Seattle Mariners (126 HRs allowed, seventh-most in MLB)
— Three versus Cleveland Indians (114 HRs allowed, tied for 14th-most in MLB)
— Four versus Kansas City Royals (97 HRs allowed, 22nd-most in MLB)
— Three versus New York Yankees (119 HRs, 11th-most in MLB)
— Three versus Philadelphia Phillies (127 HRs allowed, tied for fourth-most in MLB)
— Three versus Toronto Blue Jays (114 HRs allowed, tied for 14th-most in MLB)
— Four versus Tampa Bay Rays (114 HRs allowed, tied for 14th-most in MLB)
— Three versus Baltimore Orioles (118 HRs allowed, 12th-most in MLB)
Road games (22)
— Three versus Chicago White Sox (102 HRs allowed, 20th-most in MLB) at U.S. Cellular Field (1.76 HR/G, 13th in AL)
Ortiz career at U.S. Cellular Field: 17 HRs in 62 games/266 plate appearances.
— Three versus New York Mets (96 HRs allowed, tied for 23rd-most in MLB) at Citi Field (1.95 HR/G, sixth in NL)
Ortiz career at Citi Field: N/A.
— Three versus Tampa Bay Rays (114 HRs allowed, tied for 14th-most in MLB) at Tropicana Field (1.89 HR/G, tied for 10th in AL)
Ortiz career at Tropicana Field: 31 HRs in 109 games/484 plate appearances.
— Three versus Baltimore Orioles (118 HRs allowed, 12th-most in MLB) at Camden Yards (2.92 HR/G, first in AL)
Ortiz career at Camden Yards: 24 HRs in 109 games/488 plate appearances.
— Three versus Toronto Blue Jays (114 HRs allowed, tied for 14th-most in MLB) at Rogers Centre (2.49 HR/G, third in AL)
Ortiz career at Rogers Centre: 39 HRs in 115 games/509 plate appearances.
— Four versus New York Yankees (119 HRs allowed, 11th-most in MLB) at Yankee Stadium (2.68 HR/G, second in AL)
Ortiz career at (new) Yankee Stadium: 12 HRS in 50 games/224 plate appearances.
— Three versus Cleveland Indians (114 HRs allowed, tied for 14th-most in MLB) at Progressive Field (1.86 HR/G, 12th in AL)
Ortiz career at Progressive Field: 11 HRs in 60 games/249 plate appearances.
You’re free to draw your own conclusions from Boston’s remaining slate as it pertains to Ortiz’s quest, but one suggests honing in on the Red Sox’s games against American League East opponents. The nine-time All-Star typically posts good power numbers against divisional foes, even in their yard.
It’s also worth noting that some teams, particularly those out of contention, could rely more on unproven pitchers down the stretch by virtue of rosters expanding in September. And Ortiz’s track record shows he has a knack for weathering the wear and tear of a 162-game grind just fine.
Case in point:
March/April: 69 HRs in 349 games (one HR per 5.06 games)
May: 70 HRs in 376 games (one HR per 5.37 games)
June: 82 HRs in 350 games (one HR per 4.27 games)
July: 88 HRs in 362 games (one HR per 4.11 games)
August: 95 HRs in 387 games (one HR per 4.07 games)
September/October (not including playoffs): 87 HRs in 391 games (one HR per 4.49 games)
None of this is meant to be an exact science. In fact, it doesn’t really matter all that much because Ortiz is going to reach the milestone, whether it’s this season or next.
Ortiz can’t play forever, though. Might as well enjoy the show.
Final verdict: Yes, Ortiz reaches 500 home runs before the end of 2015.
Thumbnail photo via Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports Images