(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
David Ortiz has only seven home runs at the midseason mark.
Not Jacoby Ellsbury, and no, not Nick Green, but David Ortiz. Big Papi isn't quite what he used to be, and after a dreadful April which saw the longest homerless streak of his career, in addition to a season-long battle with the Mendoza Line, Papi doesn't seem all that big.
Manager Terry Francona has tried giving Ortiz extra rest, but to no avail. Papi was dropped in the lineup, yet the pressure is still more than apparent.
Those home runs, in fact, have come quite recently...none bigger than the two he launched against the Yankees at Fenway in mid-June. He might be turning it around, but if he doesn't do so quickly, it could be a long season.
So what happened to the once heart and soul of the Red Sox lineup? Some take the easy road and simply point out the lack of Papi's insurance, with Manny Ramirez moving on to the bluer pastures of Dodger Stadium.
But one who watches the Sox day in and day out knows this is not the case. Jason Bay and Kevin Youkilis have produced more than enough.
Papi simply isn't Papi. He has six home runs at the end of June and embodies some early offensive woes of the Red Sox. But as of late he's looking like he's back to form, and possibly, he'll still finish the season with over 25 dingers.