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David Ortiz benched against Francisco Liriano

Apr 15, 2010, 12:44 PM EST

Three regulars are absent from the Red Sox’s lineup for today’s game against the Twins. Jacoby Ellsbury is still recovering from bruised ribs suffered Sunday in a collision with Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron was a last-minute scratch with a strained abdomen, and David Ortiz has been benched in favor of Mike Lowell.
Ortiz taking a seat will obviously make the most headlines, but even setting aside his 13 strikeouts in 26 at-bats so far this season it makes sense for the Red Sox to replace him with Lowell against a tough left-handed pitcher like Francisco Liriano.
Like nearly all left-handed hitters Ortiz is significantly less effective against left-handed pitchers, and last season he hit just .212 with a .716 OPS against them. Combined from 2007-2009 he hit .253 with a .777 OPS versus lefties compared to .291 with a .977 OPS versus righties. Meanwhile, during that same three-year span Lowell hit .314 with an .881 OPS versus lefties.
At this point Lowell is simply a better hitter than Ortiz against left-handers, and the decision is made even easier by the fact that Liriano has a massive platoon split as well. Since returning from Tommy John surgery he’s held lefties to .243 batting average and .632 OPS, whereas righties have tagged him for a .279 batting average and .840 OPS. Add it all up and Terry Francona would be making the right call today even if Ortiz wasn’t struggling.

  1. Nasty Boy - Apr 15, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    It’s going to be a long season for the red sux . I don’t want to say I told you so , but third place might look pretty good to them. Forget about little poopie , get a clue , no juice , no poopie. As I said earlier , the Twins are a great org. for reclaiming players that have something left in the tank . It should have told us all that Ortiz was finished when they cut him loose , but low and behold poopie finds the juice and gets a groove for a few years . Reality has a way of rearing it’s ugly head , and along comes stricter drug test , and poopie can’t answer the bell . So long poopie , and the 12 million ? mark it on the ice , you won’t see it . Ciao, Ciao, Bambino.(no offense to the real Bambino) Ortiz couldn’t make a pimple on the Babe’s ass.

  2. jim collins - Apr 15, 2010 at 8:55 PM

    The season is only 2 weeks old but the questions about the redsox infield are plenty.Can scutaro hold down shortstop,his throws look errant across the infield,Martinez does not seem to have the skills of varitek,the infield as a whole needs to be better coordinated if they want to compete with the best teams in the A.L.
    The offense has to produce a big bat as Ortiz,now in his third season of sub-par hitting may be unable to help the team in the wild card chase.Daisuke can be a enormus difference in the rotation,this could be his yearto set the tone for the starting staff a long established winner!J.D. drew a 70-80 game playeris a problem in right field as well as facing left hand pitching while Hermida could be star we have been waiting for.June is the critical month as I see it to better evaluate the starting lineup.thanks for the chance to speak….J.C.

  3. DelawareSoxFan - Apr 15, 2010 at 11:50 PM

    You are kidding right? What a short memory you have… Giambi? Pettite, Douche-Rod? Please get off the high horse pal….. Oh wait… it was for recovery not enhancement now I remember.

  4. Nasty Boy - Apr 16, 2010 at 12:23 AM

    I agree with you , but I’m saying is Ortiz is finished , as is Giambi. Arod isn’t what he was. Pettite , I’m not sure of the extent of his usage. Again, don’t be naive and think Ortiz is in a slump , it’s over for him . His buddy Manny (the moron) has also felt the drop off,as all the juicers have.

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