It’s still premature to deem any sort of triumphant return to glory materializing for David Ortiz, but the Boston Red Sox designated hitter has shown more signs of turning it around in the past 10 days than he has through the first 10 weeks of the season.
He’s driving the ball to gaps, driving it to the opposite field, and most importantly, driving it out of the park.
Big Papi has two home runs in his last 13 at-bats after hitting just one through his first 193. He has six RBI in his last seven games, and has hit safely in each of them.
He lined his second home run of the season off the Rangers’ Kris Benson into the right field seats in his strongest showing since moving to the sixth spot in the order. He had already shown signs of a turn-around by the time he hit that home run.
“That’s how you getting back to hitting balls and start hitting well, put a good swing on a ball,” Ortiz told Ian Browne of RedSox.com. “Even though you don’t get the good luck, it will come.”
Then the real good sign came Tuesday against the Yankees, when he took a pitch from A.J. Burnett on the outside edge and drove it into the center field seats for his third home run of the season. And this one was a true bomb.
Like Ortiz’s first home run of the season, it was 400-plus feet and landed comfortably in the bleachers. But it was more of an opposite-field drive off a pitch that was almost off the plate, as opposed to something in his wheelhouse.
This recent six-game snippet of success doesn’t guarantee that Ortiz is going to tear it up and have 20 home runs by the All-Star break. But a streak is a streak, and right now Big Papi is on a good one.
The home run off Burnett showed that he still has the ability to drive the ball out to the deep part of the park. He hit several deep fly ball outs in Detroit’s cavernous Comerica Park that may have been home runs at Fenway, Yankee Stadium, and several other ballparks.
Despite failing to homer in Detroit, Ortiz still delivered his share of production, shooting a long double into the gap in right-center to score two runners.
Again, Papi’s recent success still doesn’t mean he’s going to produce like the 2003-2007 Ortiz for the rest of the season.
And in all honesty, it wouldn’t shock me or many others if he went right back to slumping horrendously. But considering he’s produced more in the last six games than he has pretty much all season, it’s reasonable to believe Big Papi is back.