Boston Red Sox: Pushing the Panic Button on David Ortiz?

By Benjamin Riley
David Ortiz
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Entering Friday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox, David Ortiz had been mire in a late-season slump. Hitless in his last 22 at-bats, Ortiz finally broke out against the White Sox with a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth inning of a 4-3 Boston Red Sox victory.

Despite the big hit, the question still looms: is it time to panic about Ortiz?

While it is likely that Ortiz finishes 2013 in strong fashion, there are a few statistics to keep in mind with him moving forward. Coming off a 2012 season that featured just 90 games and 324 at-bats due to an Achilles injury, Ortiz has already surpassed those totals in 2013. He has played in 112 games and has tallied 422 at-bats this season.

At the age of 37, Ortiz is starting to enter uncharted waters for the first time in a few seasons.

Dating back to 2011, Ortiz finished with a .309 batting average, 29 home runs, 96 RBIs and a .952 OPS. Despite having a strong season, Ortiz ended in disappointing fashion, registering just one home run, eight RBIs, and a .768 OPS in his last 94 at-bats of September.

Entering the final month of 2013, the Red Sox face a number of left-handed pitchers down the stretch. The Red Sox could be lined up for C.C. Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, David Price and Matt Moore in their final few divisional series. Ortiz has struggled mightily against left-handed pitching all season long, batting just .258.

The Red Sox also hold six more games against the Baltimore Orioles, a team that has fared very well against Ortiz. In 36 at-bats this season against the Orioles, Ortiz is hitting .194 with two home runs, four RBIs, and a .703 OPS.

With only 26 games left to play, many are hoping that Ortiz turns the corner after tonight’s performance. What Red Sox fans hope for might not be what they get.

Benjamin Riley is a Major League Baseball columnist for Follow Ben on Twitter and “Like” him on Facebook.

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