This is so obvious that my roommate, who has trashed baseball ever since becoming a football fan, and doesn't know an RBI from a IBB, was able to make this comment to me last night:
"They should just walk him."
What is the difference between my roommate and managers around baseball? I'm hoping a lot. Apparently, though, he realizes to walk Ortiz in the 9th inning and no other professional baseball coach does.
I've said it before, let me say it again: David Ortiz is the best clutch hitter in baseball.
The argument not to walk him is probably the fact that Manny Ramirez bats behind him in the order. Honestly, who cares? Ramirez isn't as clutch as Ortiz is; no one can lay claim to that. I personally think the smartest thing to do in that situation (one out, Ortiz up) is to intentionally walk Ortiz and face Ramirez. I admit Ramirez is a great hitter, and can obviously take advantage of that situation, but anything is better than facing Ortiz. That's the honest truth from me.
It's almost uncanny what Ortiz does when the game is like it was last night. When we need a clutch hit, he gets the clutch hit. If we need a home run - BOOM! - home run. It's becoming so routine for Ortiz that I think he even expects it.
Last night, after Ortiz hit his home run, he just kind of stared at the ball and flipped his bat. He pretty much said to the pitcher, "Don't bring that weak stuff to my house."
You saw that Ortiz wanted to hit one out. The first mistake Scot Shields made was that he went 3-0 to Ortiz. That is probably the worst thing you can do after not walking him. So what should you do? You should throw him a breaking ball out of the zone that you hope he doesn't hit. What did Shields do? He threw him some fastballs in the zone. He was lucky that Ortiz fouled the first two off. Then the third pitch was a high, inside fastball that was delivered over the bullpen.
Game. Set. Match.
Will they do it again? They shouldn't, but they will.