Red Sox

McAdam: Not even Ortiz comes through every time


McAdam: Not even Ortiz comes through every time

BOSTON -- The stage was set. Everything was in place. It was if everything had been building to this moment.

The Red Sox began the bottom of the ninth trailing by three. Mookie Betts had homered. Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts had reached base.

It was the perfect tableau for David Ortiz.

Surely, he would cap his final home opener by swatting a ball into the right-field seats, sending the Red Sox to a dramatic victory, as he's done so many times.

Wasn't it obvious?

It was to Betts.

"I can only speak for what went through my head,'' acknowledged Betts. "It was like fate-destiny thing. His last home opener. What a way to end it. I was fully confident in his ability to hit it out of the park, as well as [get] a base hit."

It seemed as if the whole day had been building to this. It began with a performance of the national anthem by Ortiz's 15-year-old daughter Alex, a nicely-orchestrated moment that caught Ortiz by surprise and filled him with emotion.

The Sox then traded punches back and forth with the Orioles -- up 3-0, down 5-3, tied 5-5, down 6-5, tied 6-6 -- before Baltimore took the lead in the top of the ninth, 9-6.

But no matter. Betts got the Sox a run back, and then Pedroia and Bogaerts did their part, as though each was a mere extra in this dramatic movie, unfolding right as scripted

Ortiz would come to the plate, select a pitch from Baltimore closer Zach Britton and drive it out of the ballpark.

Bedlam would ensue, Ortiz would take a leisurely jog around the bases and everyone -- save the Orioles -- would leave Fenway happy.

How many times had that happened? How natural a finish to the home opener would that seem?

But contrary to prevailing expectations, no, it is not that easy. Not even for the man who's been hailed as the greatest clutch hitter in franchise history. Just because he sometimes makes it look easy, it isn't.

And so, with anticipation soaring and expectations in place, Ortiz could only hit a sharp ground ball up the middle that second baseman Jonathan Schoop gloved with a diving effort, beginning a thoroughly anti-climactic double play.

So much for the perfect finish. You can't always get what you want, after all.

"What do you want me to tell you about it?'' Ortiz snapped when asked about the final at-bat. "I grounded out. Next question.''

There was an air of exasperation to Ortiz's voice. as if he was railing against the sense that his late-game heroics can be summoned on cue.

That's unfair, perhaps. Some others might engender hope, but Ortiz brings actual expectations. He had come through so many times before; why should this be any different?

But it wasn't to be.

Perhaps that should have been obvious by the way the game had played out to that point. David Price, making his first home start, was not himself, allowing a five-run inning in the third and handing over a 3-0 lead he had been presented.

In the ninth, Craig Kimbrel similarly stumbled, walking two batters and then allowing a moon shot to Chris Davis, marking the first time in his career that he given up three-run homer. Ever.

Still, Price and Kimbrel were new. They hadn't build up the sort of trust that Ortiz has earned over the previous 13 seasons. Price and Kimbrel are good, but they hadn't yet demonstrated the ability to rise to the occasion for Red Sox fans the way Ortiz has.

Ortiz would be different. He would, as he seemingly always has, found a way in The Big Moment.

The afternoon had played out perfectly, with the slugger perfectly positioned to kick off The Long Goodbye Tour with the perfect statement.

Instead, there was disappointment. The fan base has been spoiled so often that the bar sometimes gets set too high.

David Ortiz isn't Superman, after all.

Not every time, anyway.

Red Sox minor leaguer Oscar Hernandez suspended for second positive drug test

Red Sox minor leaguer Oscar Hernandez suspended for second positive drug test

Red Sox minor league catcher Oscar Hernandez has been handed a 50-game suspension for a second positive test for a drug of abuse, our own Evan Drellich reports.

Hernandez signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox in January and currently is on the Triple-A Pawtucket roster. The 24-year-old will be able to return in late May.





Wright suspended 15 games for violation of domestic-violence policy

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Wright suspended 15 games for violation of domestic-violence policy

Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright will be suspended 15 games for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy, NBC Sports Boston has learned. The league is set to make the announcement Friday.

Wright, working his way back from right knee surgery, has to serve the suspension when healthy. Potential time on the disabled list to begin the season would not count. Wright is not expected to appeal.

Wright was arrested at his Tennessee home in December following an incident involving his wife, Shannon. Wright was charged with domestic assault and preventing a 911 call, which are misdemeanors in Tennessee, and released on a $2,500 bond.

The case in December was retired by the Williamson County courthouse. If Wright commits no other offenses for a 12-month span, the charges are expected to be dropped.

Fifteen games matches the lowest suspension MLB has given out in relation to a domestic violence case since the league and players union agreed to a policy in 2015. Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia was suspended 15 games in March 2017.

"It's a situation that, it sucks not only for me, but for my family, for the team," Wright told reporters in Florida on Thursday. "But I try not to think about it. When MLB comes out with their discipline, or if there's going to be discipline or not, it's just going to go from there."

Wright said this spring that he did not harm his wife.

“We’ve been going to counseling. We’ve been working through it,” Wright said. “We’ve been trying to do as much as we can to put it past us, but it’s hard. Because MLB is doing their investigation and it’s in the limelight. It’s really hard on a personal level to get past something that’s constantly being thrown at you. But I did it to myself. It’s one of those things that I’ve got to live with the consequences that came from my actions that night.”