Of course, Mother Nature may make this entire argument moot by raining out tonight’s game… but how on earth, with the Red Sox needing only a win to move into first place, does David Ortiz sit tonight’s game out?
Terry Francona, in his daily pre-game news conference, said it felt like the right time to give Papi a night off, given how he’s feeling and his statistical lack of success against lefty Rays ace Scott Kazmir. Here’s his exact quote:
“I told him, I said, Why don’t you come check with me after the game. He did after the game and we both thought it might be a good thing to do. It’s not easy not writing his name in the lineup but tonight seems like a good night. You’ve got a guy (Kazmir) who has been real tough on him, real tough on lefties, I just think it would be a good thing to do.”
I don’t know about that. This is September baseball and playoff positioning (assuming the Sox have pretty much wrapped up at least the Wild Card) is on the line. You don’t leave anything to chance… that includes hitting Jeff Bailey 9th when you could have a big bat in there.
The counterpoint comes from the Boston Globe’s (and frequent SportsCenter 5 OT guest) Tony Massarotti, who suggested to me that Ortiz is 7-37 against Kazmir… and the lefty hasn’t given up a home run to a left handed batter all year. But even he thought Terry would have waited until tomorrow, so Ortiz could have two days off in a row (off day Thursday).
I still say it’s a clutch game and you need your best clutch hitter in there. Just my opinion, I could be wrong.