With the Yankees throwing Andy Pettitte on Wednesday, many folks (including rabble-rousing members of the media) might be expecting Terry Francona to sit Ortiz and use Mike Lowell as the DH against the lefty.
Not so fast.
Ortiz against Pettitte: 18 of 49, 7 extra-base hits, 7 walks. .367/.431/.551
Lowell against Pettitte: 10 of 29, 1 extra-base hit, 5 walks, .345/.429/.379
Ortiz has performed better against Pettitte and has 20 more at-bats. As batter/pitcher sample sizes go, that’s a significant number. It would be hard for Francona to see those numbers and tell Ortiz to take a seat.
Beyond that, it sends a bad message. Ortiz doesn’t need a rest on April 7, so replacing him in the lineup is benching him. Telling your veteran No. 5 hitter you don’t have confidence in him on April 7 is not the usual path for a manager.
The Red Sox have scored 13 runs on 21 hits over their first 17 innings this season. Ortiz hasn’t aided the cause, but its not like he’s holding them back.
If Ortiz isn’t hitting and it’s Memorial Day weekend, then those who want him benched will have a case. But he has earned the right to get a couple of months to prove he can still hit. Until then, it’s a lot of noise that I suspect Francona will not listen to.
Or as the Ortiz so eloquently expressed it after the game on Tuesday: “(Expletive) happens. Then you guys talk (expletive). Two (expletive) games already. You (expletives) going crazy. What’s up with that, man? (Expletive). There’s 160 games left. Ain’t that a (expletive).”