David Ortiz should play first base in St. Louis
Although I am not a huge fan of the designated hitter, I do like the disparagement between the two leagues. A dilemma every year, though, arises for the American League representative in the World Series, and this year is no different for the Boston Red Sox and manager John Farrell. The dilemma is this: what will Farrell do with DH David Ortiz in Games 3, 4, and 5 in the St. Louis Cardinals’ National League ball park?
In many cases, the regular DH would just sit and rest and wait for his chance to pinch hit late in the game. For most DH’s, that would make perfect sense. However, for Ortiz, that would mean taking a huge bat out of the linep when the Red Sox will need it most.
I mean to take away absolutely nothing from first baseman Mike Napoli. He had a solid year: .259, 23 HR, and 73 RBI. He then made a push for ALCS MVP by going 6 for 20, with two HR, one of them a game-winner and the other the margin of victory. Farrell will have Napoli at first base with David Ortiz as the DH in Games 1, 2, 6, and 7 in Fenway Park just as he has done all season.
Yet, how could Farrell not have Big Papi in the lineup in St. Louis? CBS Sports.com’s Al Melchoir says that Farrell will play Ortiz at first “for some portion of the World Series games to be played in St. Louis.” Ortiz is the most clutch hitter on the Red Sox and one the best in the league. Never mind Ortiz’s regular-season performance, which is always top-notch. Ortiz shines in the postseason when it counts the most. Ortiz is a career .272 postseason hitter with 15 home runs and 54 RBI in 76 games. He not only hits, he hits in the clutch.
Remember Ortiz’s eighth-inning game-tying grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS. That is only one example. What Red Sox fan can forget Ortiz’s 2004 or 2007 postseason performance that propelled the Sox to two World Series championships?
Napoli is no postseason slouch either at .264, 7 HR, and 22 RBI in 42 games including .350 in the 2011 World Series. Napoli has also had many more games at first base in recent years, and he made just six errors this year. Ortiz played first in just six games this year. Farrell definitely has a tough decision to make.
Big Papi, though, should play first in St. Louis. He has the proven track record of performing in the most clutch situations, and what better situation than the World Series calls for clutch hitting?