BOSTON -- David Ortiz has spent his entire Red Sox career supplying dramatic moments. As he begins the final weekend of his last season, there are no apparent plans to change.
Why, after all, would you mess with success?
Ortiz supplied another booster shot for Fenway Park, lining a laser shot down the right field line for a tie-breaking, two-run homer in the Red Sox' 5-3 comeback win over Toronto.
"You expect it,'' marveled Dustin Pedroia, who has been Ortiz's teammate in Boston longer than any other current Red Sox player. "It's (strange) to say because it's so tough to do. But he makes it look easy.''
Ortiz has set such a ridiculously high standard that the shock happens when he doesn't come through, rather than when he does.
You expect it.
Like Tuesday night in New York, when Ortiz came to the plate in the ninth inning, with the Red Sox trailing by two and two runners on base. The expectation was that, of course Ortiz was going to belt a three-run homer to 1) beat the Yankees and 2) secure the division title.
When he didn't, when he went down swinging, it was, however unfairly, a letdown.
That's how good he is. That's how often he's come through in such situations.
Anything less than heroics is somehow a failing.
"I don't know that you could write a script any better than what David did tonight offensively,'' said John Farrell. "He turned this place upside down, given (where we were in) the game and what was needed. Almost a storybook night for David.''
Another in a long series.
What gets lost in the drama and clutch nature of his at-bats is the smarts he utilizes.
Ortiz was facing lefty Brett Cecil, whom Toronto manager John Gibbons had summoned expressly for Ortiz, who had limited Ortiz to a .194 (6-for-31) batting average in his career, including 10 strikeouts.
The two faced each other earlier this month in Toronto, and Ortiz, as he frequently does, was taking notes.
"I kept track of my at-bat with him,'' said Ortiz. "Last time I faced him, he started me off breaking ball, breaking ball, then finished me off hard. Cecil has that god breaking ball, and his fastball is 94 mph, so you can't pick both. You've got to give him something.''
Ortiz "gave'' Cecil the curveball, and got three in a row. But when Cecil fell behind 2-and-1, he had to throw a fastball and Ortiz was ready.
Two games remain in his last season and Ortiz has 38 homers. What, he was asked, would he think of hitting 40 homers in his age 40 season?
"Forty-forty-forty,'' chuckled Ortiz. "What can I tell you? It's a pretty good season. If it happens, it happens. And it's all gravy.''
Don't put it past him. The guy has a habit of doing remarkable things that you somehow expected him to do.