Boston Red Sox: David Ortiz Represents Last Chance for Playoffs

Brandon WheelandCorrespondent IIJuly 28, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 14:  Designated hitter David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox sets to bat against the Tampa Bay Rays July 14, 2012 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Big Papi is a big need in Boston.

DH David Ortiz has been one of the few consistent bright spots during the course of this season for the Boston Red Sox. At 49-51 entering Saturday, there hasn't been much to cheer about for the Fenway faithful.

Let's be honest. Whether you are a giant Red Sox fan, or you hate them with every fiber in your being, it is somewhat strange to see them staring up at so many teams in the standings.

The Red Sox are currently 5.5 games back in the AL wild card and 11.5 games behind their arch rival, the New York Yankees.

The rivalry has been virtually non existent this season, and with 14 percent of the Red Sox remaining schedule to be played at Yankee Stadium, their chances of making the playoffs appear to be slim to none.

Ortiz has hit to the tune of .316/.414/.609 this season, and was a large reason why the Red Sox were able to play as well as they did.

Injuries have plagued the team during this season and are a huge reason why they have been unable to contend.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, Carl Crawford, Andrew Bailey, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, Josh Beckett, David Ortiz, Clay Buchholz and Dustin Pedroia have all missed significant time at some point this year.

Not to mention, their starting rotation has been somewhat of a headache as expectations have not been met by Beckett or Jon Lester.

A trade would be huge for the Red Sox, but the market is beginning to get a tad bit weaker. There are plenty of players who could still make an impact, both pitchers and position players. Bobby Valentine has said there are no gaping holes on the team, and I agree with him. The problem isn't that there's no talent on the roster, the problem is the talent is not producing.

Ortiz should be back sometime next week. If they don't suffer any other injuries, it will be about as healthy as the Red Sox have been all year. 

With a healthy team plus Ortiz, the Red Sox have a strong shot at claiming a second wild card spot and earning a "win or go home" game in October. The Red Sox are 3-7 since losing Ortiz and have fallen below .500.

Red Sox fans, be prepared for the clutch narrative to return in August and September. When Big Papi makes his return, the absolute final shot for Boston to make it to October will begin. There will be little room for error.

Follow Brandon Wheeland on Twitter @BrandonWheeland for MLB news/analysis and more. Staff Writer for Check out the newly launched blog Wheeland On Sports