Top 3 Reasons for the Downfall of David Ortiz

Jesse SuessContributor IMay 22, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 14: An Angels fan holds up a sign reminding David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox that he has no home runs for the year during the game with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on May 14, 2009 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  The Angels won 5-4 in 12 innings.   (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Unless you are just getting back from a two-month long vacation in the Sahara Desert, you are aware of the struggles of Boston's beloved slugger David Ortiz.

After arriving in Boston in 2003, David Ortiz quickly captured the hearts of millions of Sox fans after the comeback in the 2004 ALCS against the hated Yankees.

David Ortiz became a staple in the No. 3 hole of the Red Sox line up for four years. All of a sudden, Mr. Ortiz can't seem to catch a break in the early part of the 2009 season.

Ortiz ended his longest ever homerless drought to start a season on Thursday night with a long ball to deep center. Does this home run end a horrific slump for one of the game's best hitters? Or is Ortiz's slump an issue that is here to stay for the long haul?

For the first time in the past few years, the odd's are against "the nation" on this issue. It's not like Ortiz has been looking strong at the plate, pitchers have been making him look foolish (unless those pitchers are wearing pinstripes, of course).

Here are a few reasons that could have led to the slump of David Ortiz:


1. His Wrist

David Ortiz's 2008 wrist injury seems to be catching the brunt of the blame for his tortoise like start. David sat out for the majority of the 2008 summer with a torn sheath tendon in his left wrist.

Although this injury was no doubt a visible problem for him for the remainder of last season, Ortiz has had all winter to get this injury out of his system.

And if the injury was severe enough to have had caused this kind of an impact on his approach than he would have had surgery to repair the situation.

This is not an uncommon injury, the Nationals' Nick Johnson had this injury in May of the same year (but than again what injury hasn't Nick Johnson had?).

Johnson did not have a problem rebounding from his injury this year. He is hitting .333 with four HRs and 25 RBIs through May 21.

So is it a possibility that the wrist is still bothering Ortiz? Sure there is a possibility. But reality has it that this is not a liable excuse for the big man's struggles.


2. The Curse of the Buried Jersey

The construction of the new Yankee Stadium came to a screeching halt on April 13, 2008, when word got out that a construction worker from a Boston-based concrete company made an attempt to "curse" the Bombers.

Rumors started to swirl that there was a David Ortiz jersey buried under the concrete floor. Being first-hand witnesses to the "Curse of the Bambino" that haunted the Sox for 86 years, the Yankees could not ignore this rumor.

After jackhammering through the thick layer of concrete in a service corridor behind what would be a restaurant in the new Yankee Stadium, sure enough, there it was.

The construction worker reached in and pulled out the white and red home Boston jersey from the confines of the stadium and held it up.

Could this construction worker's bid to curse the Yankees been reversed when the Jersey was held up in front of TV cameras that portrayed this image to the entire planet?

This is definitely a possibility for those fans who tend to be superstitious. But Big Papi started out that same season on a complete tear. Arguably the best start to his career before suffering the aforementioned wrist injury. And this was after the shirt was uncovered.


3. The Manny Factor

The trade of Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers seemed to be a deal that would sacrifice the Red Sox season. The trade brought very underrated left fielder, Jason Bay, into Beantown.

The Sox got much more than they had expected from Bay for the second half of that season. Bay did not miss a beat, he stepped right in and gave the Red Sox Manny-like production to finish out the season.

But of course, with every positive there is at least one negative. Jason Bay is a great player, but he does not bring the same impact that Manny brought to their line up.

Manny Ramirez is one of the most feared hitters that the game has ever seen. Hitting in front of Manny is probably more effective than using PEDs!

When Manny went Hollywood, David Ortiz was no longer the second most feared hitter in the line up. He became the lone threat in the 3 hole. 

This is the most probable issue for the collapse of David Ortiz. Prior to coming to Boston in 2003, Ortiz's best year in Minnesota was in 2002, his sixth and final year with the squad, he hit .272 with 20 HRs and 75 RBI.

Upon coming to Boston, Ortiz's numbers gradually increased to where he was an All-Star caliber player. In 2006 Ortiz hit .287 54 HRs and 137 RBIs.

Contrast his stats from his Minnesota days to his Boston days:

Is this a product of Ortiz finally finding his swing upon showing up in Boston? Or is it a product of seeing more fastballs because the pitchers were more afraid of future hall of famer Manny Ramirez, who was hitting behind him?