There have been times when David Ortiz has refused to talk about slumps or muttered a few words before leaving the clubhouse. Tonight, he accommodated one set of reporters right after the game then a second group who arrived a few minutes later.
It couldn’t have been easy. Ortiz was hitless in four trips to the plate in a 3-2 loss against Baltimore. He left three runners on base — two in scoring position — and ended three innings.
The frustrating night was part of a much larger slump. Ortiz is 0 for his last 22, his batting average dropping from a robust .327 to .310.
“I’m just missing pitches. You have to stay aggressive and keep on battling. It happens to everybody,” Ortiz said.
It hasn’t happened to Ortiz much in recent seasons. He started the night fifth in the American League in batting average, third in on-base percentage and 10th in runs batted in.
Yet somehow Ortiz hasn’t had a hit since Aug. 18. He has one RBI in the last six games, that on a sacrifice fly.
“I’m a player just like anyone else,” Ortiz said. “I’m not going to put pressure on myself now. I don’t think we have time for that, you know? You’ve just got to keep on playing. That’s the only way you can get out of it.”
Facing lefty Brian Matusz, Ortiz struck out to end the eighth inning. That stranded Jacoby Ellsbury at third base. Ortiz is 1 for 19 against Matusz with 11 strikeouts but John Farrell stayed with him.
It was one of those times for a manager where short-term pain could lead to long-term success.
“He’s obviously working through some things right now. There was no thought of a pinch hit or to try to take away from his strengths are,” Farrell said. “We’ve seen many, many times against lefthanders where he stayed inside with either a groundball up the middle [or] a line drive to right center field. He’s just going through a spell right now where he’s working to get out of it.”
Farrell said Ortiz would be in the lineup on Friday night against White Sox lefty Hector Santiago.
“This happens sometimes,” Ortiz said. “It’s not the end of the world, you know what I’m saying? Papi can struggle, too. I’ll be back.”
Ortiz said that the media better come back when he starts hitting.
“Don’t forget about that,” he said,.
A few notes:
• Ellsbury was 2 for 4 with his 50th steal a night after leaving the game in the eighth inning after fouling a ball off his left foot. Ellsbury is the first Red Sox player to have three seasons with 50 steals.
• O’s starter Chris Tillman is 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA in nine career starts against the Sox, three of the wins coming this season.
• Daniel Nava has reached base safely in 35 consecutive starts since June 22, the longest such active streak in the majors.
• Righthanded reliever Alex Wilson, out since July 9 with a thumb injury, is set to pitch an inning for Pawtucket on Friday. If healthy, he would be a candidate to rejoin the Red Sox.
• Richard Donohue, the MBTA Transit Police Officer shot and gravely injured while pursuing the alleged Boston Marathon bombing suspects, threw out the first pitch to a loud ovation.