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Let us rise (yet again) in praise of David Americo Ortiz.

It might be true that we praise David Ortiz a lot on this site, but this time it is truly merited, as Ortiz is currently in the midst of one of the greatest periods of sustained excellence in baseball post-season history.

alds3.jpgI think most baseball fans probably have some sense that Ortiz has been hitting wel in the playoffs of late, but I was floored when I actually took a look at the numbers.

From the start of the 2004 postseason through game one with Cleveland, Ortiz has played in 19 postseason games, batting .434 with 8 home runs, 23 RBI, and a .561 on-base percentage. Breaking down those numbers, he has hit safely in 33 out of 76 at-bats, and reached base in 55 out of 98 plate appearances, and has launched a home run once every 9.5 at-bats. Two of those home-runs were game-winning walk-off shots, and he also added a walk-off single.

Just looking at this year’s performance so far, Ortiz has reached base in 16 out of 18 plate appearances, going 7-9 with 8 walks and a hit-by-pitch, for a .778 batting average and an .889 on-base-percentage.

I think most of us can agree with the assumption that it’s harder for hitters to put up as good numbers in the postseason as they do in the regular season, given that most teams essentially go with a three-man rotation of their top three hurlers and only pitch the top half of their regular-season bullpen. Which just makes Ortiz’s numbers that much more amazing. Is there anyone we can think of who has hit that well for that many postseason games in a row?

Reggie Jackson got nicknamed “Mr. October” for his post-season heroics. If this continues, Ortiz is going to need a special postseason nickname too.

5 Responses to “David Ortiz: Regular-season Hero, Post-season God”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    Wow, Nick, the middle name! You must be in full-throttle Papi-love mode. It’s okay, I spend a good half of the year in that mode. (And then, in the offseason, if ever my heart needs lifting, I just think of Ortiz. This usually makes me happier, but still a little wet-eyed, like a moving country song or an AT&T commercial.)

    Nevertheless, Manny’s numbers are just as awesome and deserve our attention as well. Plus, Manny missed some 24 games at the end of the season and has still come back like wildfire: in 18 plate appearances, he’s batting .500 with a .722 OBP, with 8 walks, 5 hits, five runs scored, 7 runs batted in, and 2 homers. His SLG is a cartoonish 1.100 and his OPS is a freaktastic 1.822. And he even had two amazing catches last night! Looks he wants to add another World Series MVP to his collection.

    But Nick…one quibble. How come you are willing to acknowledge that Ortiz since ’04 is a postseason deity, but you say that A-Rod’s suckage in the same period is just due to a “small sample size”??

  2. Why is he better in the post-season than anyone else of late?

    It’s simple, because he’s the full-time DH, and sits his ‘Big Pooper’ on the bench all season more than anyone else involved in the playoffs.

    He’s the most rested man in baseball! Why wouldn’t he do well in October? ;-)

  3. Nick Kapur says:

    Sarah, you will notice that I never said anything in my post about *why* David Ortiz is doing so well. I simply noted that he is doing really well, which is objectively true.

    If people had just noted that A-Rod was performing below expectations in the playoffs of late, I would have been fine with that. But it was when people began trying to suggest reasons *why* based on arguments about his mental state, that I had to object, because I just don’t think we have enough evidence to say either way.

    I mean, it’s vaguely possible that A-Rod could have some sort of playoffs-only mental block, despite his numerous clutch hits this past season, I don’t think two at-bats against Paul Byrd are enough to say that with any conclusiveness at all.

  4. Sarah Green says:

    Nice, Kapur. Real nice little loophole you left for yourself there. Nonetheless, if you get to call Papi a god, I get to call A-Rod an ass-clown. It’s only fair.

  5. Nick Kapur says:

    It’s true. I won’t deny you that pleasure, because fair is fair.

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