It appears manager Terry Francona is set to start David Ortiz at first base tonight so that he can get some ABs against Philadelphia rookie right-hander Vance Worley. Tito says he doesn’t want to keep Big Papi rotting on the bench for five more games. That means that first baseman Adrian Gonzalez will be moved to the outfield to hold down the responsibilities in right field for one game.
I don't like it. Not one bit.
Even if A-Gon gets through the game in one piece, this is a decision fraught with panic and utter stupidity. Isn’t it bad enough we have had to sit back and watch Darnell McDonald hit fifth on a few occasions recently? Isn’t it bad enough we have had to listen to Francona’s specious rationalization(s) for exposing cleanup hitter Kevin Youkilis to a series of meaningless at-bats in which he hasn’t seen a single pitch thrown within the strike zone (Tito: “Who would you hit fifth?”… huh?)? Now, we have to sit back and watch as he jeopardizes the health and well-being of the player who is arguably the AL MVP at the end of July—and the most important guy on the ballclub—and for what? Four at-bats for soon-to-be-free-agent David Ortiz…
Are you kidding me? A-Gon is the future of the Boston Red Sox; David Ortiz is the past (That is not to diminish everything Papi has meant to this team over the last eight seasons—I love the guy—it is simply a statement of fact)
Where are Theo Epstein and John W. Henry? I do not believe in intrusive management. I believe you hire good people, let them do their jobs and then hold them accountable. But every once in awhile, upper management has to step in and say “enough." In this instance, I believe someone—anyone— needs to call the manager’s office and scream, “Cut the crap!”
Odds are, Gonzalez comes out of the game unscathed. I can’t see him running into a wall or diving for a liner into the right-center field gap.
But that is not the point. Francona is needlessly jeopardizing the health of the best hitter in the league for the sake of a single game and maybe a handful of ABs for Ortiz. It is moronic. And if something happens to Gonzalez, you can just about kiss the rest of 2011 goodbye.
Is it worth it? Really?