'What we learned': Sox' 3-0 loss to the Dodgers
By Nick Friar
Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers . . .
1) David Ortiz can still flash some leather
Big Papi has never been renowned for spectacular defense on his end.
When they’ve gone to National League parks, he’s done a sufficient job of making the plays he needs to, but nothing extraordinary.
So up until this year, it hasn’t been a major issue putting him in the field -- although he complained about it last year when he had a long stretch of playing first base.
But in his first test of the contest, Ortiz rose to the occasion, snagging a missile off Howie Kendrick’s bat to start the bottom half of the first.
And Ortiz showed he can still change direction sufficiently -- motioning towards first on contact initially, then extending out to make the catch.
He also made a nice play on a sinking liner from Josh Reddick.
“Yeah, he made two very outstanding plays,” John Farrell said on Ortiz’s play in the field. “It’s somewhat ironic that he hasn’t been on the play in nearly a year and the first ball that’s put in play is a snare of a line drive on his part.”
2) But in reality, Ortiz can’t play the field
Despite making two nice plays, Ortiz shouldn’t be playing the field -- in the regular season at least.
He was pulled midway through the game due to “general stiffness” and expressed after the game that he had discomfort “since the first inning.”
“I just didn’t want to take three days without playing,” Ortiz said following the game.
Ortiz was in good spirits when discussing the decision to come out early, but it’s not something Boston can afford to gamble on in the near future.
“It was hopeful [to play him the whole game], but you’ve got to monitor ever guy as they go through,” John Farrell said on Ortiz. “And David’s got a unique situation so when he said he was starting to stiffen up, got him off his feet.”
“But as I mentioned before the game, felt like three or four at-bats today was more beneficial for our team than one potential pinch-hit late in the game.”
True, he’s more valuable in multiple at-bats than one pitch hit scenario -- but he’s of no value if his foot puts him on the bench.
3) Boston’s offense has reversed roles with it’s pitching
That’s not to say the offense is nearly as bad as the pitching has been this year.
But less than 24 hours before Saturday’s game, the Red Sox roasted Scott Kazmir, scoring nine runs in Steven Wright’s first career shutout.
Then the next day they couldn’t score a run against a no-name righty with run of the mill fastball and off-speed pitches.
On some days they look like the same Boston offense from April, but on others they can’t muster any offense.
“We weren’t able to sustain a rally after that first inning,” Travis Shaw said after Saturday’s loss. “It’s frustrating a little bit, but it’s going to happen -- it’s a long season.”
There’s no question the offense can’t put up seven runs every game.
But when Boston’s notoriously sketchy pitching only gives up three runs against an average starter that has to be enough for the offense.
A statement very similar to the ones made about the pitching staff’s inability to hold down opponents when the Red Sox have major offensive outbursts.