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April was a bad month for the Red Sox in general. The team went 11-12 on the month, numbers were down almost across the board, and for some players this was more unusual than others.
For David Ortiz, unfortunately, it was not unusual. The last two years had been unfortunate campaigns for Ortiz that had all-too-often led fans and pundits alike whether or not Big Papi was finally done. 2010 started no differently, as Ortiz hit an atrocious .143/.238/.286 in April, leading many to call for his benching or, yes, release.
And then it was May, and David Ortiz hit two home runs in the first game of the month.
Ultimately, the game was a disappointing one. The Sox dropped their second straight to the Orioles, who would sweep away the Sox' hopes to get back into the season early on. Baltimore put up 12 runs on the hapless combination of Matsuzaka and Wakefield, while the Sox could respond with only 9. But two of those would have long-lasting impact indeed.
Ortiz wasted no time getting on the board, with long ball #1 coming in his first at bat in the second inning. Brad Bergesen found Ortiz' wheelhouse, not quite low-and-in enough, and Ortiz found the stands in right field. He found about the same spot in Camden on the first pitch he saw from Alberto Castillo in the eighth inning, too-this time a high fastball that stood no chance.
It would be one thing if these were just two homers. Ortiz had showed blips before, and hell, it looked like that was all this was when he went 0-8 in his next two games. But then he got another couple hits, and another one, and another one. He went on a seven game hitting streak, and by the end of the month had his OPS on the season up over .900.
It was the start of a renaissance season for David Ortiz, one of the brightest spots of last year's injury-filled fun fest. He reminded us in that moment, and for the rest of the year, of exactly why he was called Big Papi. Hopefully it's a lesson he'll teach us again in 2011.