David Ortiz will have plenty of people to thank when his storied Major League Baseball career ends. Chris Archer should be one of them.
The Tampa Bay Rays pitcher isn’t having the best 2016 campaign, but he’s still one of the game’s most exciting young pitchers. If he has a nemesis, though, it’s Ortiz, and the Boston Red Sox slugger victimized him again Tuesday night.
Ortiz laced an RBI single off Archer in the third inning at Tropicana Field, giving him 98 RBIs on the season. The hit also was Big Papi’s 17th career RBI against Archer in 37 plate appearances. That’s the most he’s had against any MLB pitcher in his career, with the exception of Roy Halladay.
After going 1-for-3 against Archer on Tuesday, Ortiz now has a .378 lifetime batting average (14-for-37) vs. the Rays ace with three homers, four doubles and 17 RBIs.
Ortiz also managed to beat Archer and the Rays with his feet. The 40-year-old designated hitter went from first to third on a Mookie Betts base hit later in the third inning, and when Rays outfielder Steven Souza Jr. sailed his throw past third base, Ortiz lumbered home with what turned out to be the deciding run of Boston’s 2-1 win.
It’s the second time in as many games Ortiz has had to run more than usual, but it appears he’s holding up all right.
“I’ll be sore (Wednesday),” Ortiz said after the game, via the Providence Journal. “But I’m OK. No pain, no gain.”
Let’s hit a few other notes from Red Sox-Rays:
— Ortiz’s third-inning single also helped him reach another milestone.
— Andrew Benintendi had a strong night at the plate one day after Monday’s highlight reel catch, going 2-for-3 with a run scored.
The 22-year-old now has eight multi-hit showings in his first 20 games, but Tuesday’s performance was important for another reason: He finally got his picture taken.
— A trio of injured Red Sox pitchers took three positive steps before Tuesday’s game.
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez threw a three-inning simulated game, knuckleballer Steven Wright tossed a 60-pitch bullpen session and reliever Koji Uehara threw 32 pitches and did some long toss in a side bullpen session.
Wright is set to start Friday against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park, according to manager John Farrell. The status of the other two pitchers is a bit murkier, however; Rodriguez will be reevaluated after another bullpen session Thursday, while Uehara, who hadn’t thrown off a mound since July 19, is set to toss a bullpen Friday.
“I don’t want to say game-like intensity, but it was much more than anticipated,” Farrell said of Uehara’s session, via WEEI.com. “That followed 200 feet of long-toss as he’s been doing. It was a very good workday in all three cases.”
— Wright’s expected return creates a dilemma involving Clay Buchholz, who made his best case to stay in Boston’s rotation with another strong outing Tuesday. But the Red Sox right-hander knows the decision is out of his hands, so he’s just doing what he can.
“I knew that I was filling in for a couple of guys that are out right now,” Buchholz said, via the Providence Journal. “I just tried to make the most of it — and if the decision has to be made, make it a hard one.”
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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