Mancuso: Ortiz Still Haunts Yankees

David Ortiz said this was his last season as an active ballplayer and the Boston Red Sox and their fans at times are perplexed if this is indeed the finale for “Big Papi”  And after hitting two more home runs Sunday night against the New York Yankees in the Bronx, that paved the way to a Red Sox 5-1 win the Yankees will gladly give Ortiz a fond farewell.

But Ortiz is not so sure about retirement after the season and that perspective came when he was asked after having his 51st career multi- home run game and fifth long ball against the Yankees this season. Will he will miss Yankee Stadium and hitting against a team where he has compiled 52 of his career 512 home run balls?

“Who said I was going to retire,” Ortiz said with a laugh however, the team not getting a chuckle plays in the Bronx and at the bottom of the AL East. Ortiz recorded his fifth multi career home run game against the Yankees and the solo home run in the fourth inning was his 453rd with the Red Sox that surpassed Carl Yastrzemski for sole possession of second place in franchise history.

Both of his solo home runs came off Yankees starter and loser Luis Severino, the second one deep as the first to right field.

Severino (0-5), who is the untouchable young  pitcher the Yankees will not part with told’s editor Joe McDonald, “Two fastballs that I could not locate.  David is so tough to pitch against.”  Yet Severino, and the entire Yankees pitching staff have 13 more meetings with Boston and Ortiz. including six more games at Yankee Stadium.

If the right hander is not sent down to Triple-A Scranton, he is bound to get more starts against the Red Sox and face Ortiz numerous times again. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said  about Severino after the game Sunday night, “I think he’s on the right track.”

That optimism did not mean that the 22-year old Severino, or any pitcher for that matter can handle Oriz at the moment. He is in a groove and Severino, hurt by the homerun ball is throwing well and did get the strikeouts matching a career high nine in 6.2 innings.

But, he also gave up a career high three home runs. Dustin Pedroia had the early first inning home run that went beyond Carlos Beltran in right. Since his first start against the Red Sox up in Boston last August, three of Ortiz’ home runs have come in five at bats against Severino

And, Ortiz is enjoying one of the best starts of his career with nine-home runs and 27 RBI, among the top leaders in the American League ,which adds to the thought if this will indeed be the last season for the 40-year old who is considered by many to be an icon up in Boston.

“He’s in such a good groove,” Boston manager John Farrell said about Ortiz. “So many balls are squared up, hit hard. He’s having fun.  You’re starting to get into names that are historic. A great career and no signs of slowing down.”

Ortiz said, “I do what I do. I’m off to a good start and that’s all that matters. I just go with the flow and play the game the way I’m supposed to.”

So there are no definite answers as to taking the David Ortiz retirement seriously, and he enjoys the atmosphere of hitting the home run at Yankee Stadium and hearing  a not so good  Bronx cheer from the fans.

“It’s part of the game,” Ortiz said about getting booed in the Bronx. “The Yankees get booed when they come up to Fenway.”  The Yankees could get nothing to hit because Boston knuckleballer Steven Wright was consistent and threw an occasional fastball in between to get the complete game win and salvage the finale of the three game series.

Wright was two strikes from the shutout in the ninth but Brett Gardner got hold of a fastball and hit his third home run to right. But it was another night for David Ortiz in the Bronx and once again he stole the show.

And for the Yankees they don’t have to worry about seeing Big Papi again until mid July up in Boston.  Perhaps, Ortiz, by then will slow down. Or will he?

Comment Rich Mancuso: [email protected]  Twitter@Ring786

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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