Talking Baseball

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Posted by Jon on Tuesday, October 19, 2004

"Drive Him In" David Ortiz

Quick, answer these two questions:

1) Who's the best hitter on the Red Sox?
2) Who do you want at the plate in a clutch situation?

The answer for these two questions should be the same, right? Don't you always want your best hitter at the plate in a clutch situation?

Yet, my suspicion is that many Red Sox fans would answer Manny Ramirez for question one and David Ortiz for the second. After all, can anybody remember the last time Manny Ramirez had a real clutch hit? A remarkable game-tying or game-winning RBI? Quickly, David Ortiz is entrenching himself as the Sox best clutch hitter.

I've heard people say that Manny isn't a clutch hitter. Truth be told, these fans are correct. Manny Ramirez is not a clutch hitter. When he's at the plate with runners on in an important situation, he will usually not change the game with one swing of the bat.

He's just too good.

There's no way that, with the game in the balance, Manny will see anything remotely hittable. At least, that's what the plan should be -- and that's what it was for the Yankees during both games four and five. Ortiz came to the plate with Manny on first base eight times on Sunday and Monday, four via walks to Ramirez.

That shows the tremendous respect teams have for Manny. And that's why, while Manny is a great hitter with expectedly great career numbers with men in scoring position -- .361/.471/.667 in 2004 and .370/.575/.704 in 2003 with two outs and runners in scoring position (albeit, this is a small sample size, but my point should be clear) -- Ortiz is so often the hero of the game. He is blessed with better history-making opportunities.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with this situation for Bostonians, as long as there's somebody like Ortiz batting behind the best hitter on the Red Sox.

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