04/20/09 5:50 PM ET
Ortiz ready to erupt at plate for Red Sox
Boston (7-6) vs. Minnesota (7-7), 7:10 p.m. ET
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
Apparently not. Before Ortiz's final at-bat on Sunday, hitting coach Dave Magadan pointed out a glitch in the left-handed slugger's setup that was causing the bat to be late to the ball.
Ortiz enthusiastically took the advice to heart and looked like the Big Papi of old instead of an old Big Papi in Monday's 12-1 win over the Orioles.
The veteran designated hitter lofted a double off the Green Monster and ripped a triple to center while driving in two runs. Heading into that game, Ortiz had produced just one extra-base hit and four RBIs. Perhaps even more glaring were the 14 strikeouts in Ortiz's first 47 at-bats.
"I feel good," Ortiz said. "Like I said, I've been working on my mechanics. I've been a little late with pitches, which is something I normally don't do. Pitches were taking advantage of it."
But Ortiz doesn't expect that to be the case any longer, as he gears up for a two-game series against his former team, the Minnesota Twins.
"Our hitting coach, Magadan, [Sunday], before my last at-bat, he showed me something that we both agreed on," Ortiz said. "That's why that guy was throwing 88 and throwing a fastball by me. I was wondering why because I was hitting the ball good. I was feeling good. There was one at-bat I was taking good swings and I wasn't putting the ball in play and it was because I was late.
"It doesn't matter how hard the pitcher is throwing. If you're late, you're late. We've been working on that and like I said, I'm very mechanical. If I don't have everything going the way I normally do, I get in trouble easily."
Now he feels his timing coming back. Ortiz is confident that his age (33 years old) had little to do with his slow start.
"If you as a hitter slow down at 88 [mph], that means you have to go," Ortiz said. "But it's crazy after you get beat by 88 and then you can hit 94. That means that it's not that you have to go but you have to put yourself together and keep working. It's a long season."
Ortiz is confident that the Red Sox will again be able to lean on him for big things.
"Everybody knows that I'm one of those guys hitting in the middle of the lineup," Ortiz said. "I have to produce and get things done. I've been doing it for years. It's not as easy as it looks. When I go to hit, I don't think about anything but me getting it done at the time. I know people expect me to get it done. I've gotten it done before and I'm going to keep getting it done."Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Tim Wakefield (1-1, 3.00 ERA)
The knuckleballer comes off a masterful performance last Wednesday in Oakland, where he threw a complete game in just his second start of the season. Wakefield carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning before Kurt Suzuki singled cleanly to break up the bid. Wakefield allowed four hits and two runs while walking two and striking out four. Wakefield is 13-5 lifetime with a 4.38 ERA lifetime against the Twins. He was tagged for seven hits and seven runs (six earned) over 2 2/3 innings in his only appearance against them last season. MIN: RHP Scott Baker (0-1, 13.50 ERA)
Baker missed his Opening Day start with right shoulder stiffness, then was hammered for four home runs in four innings on Wednesday in his season debut against Toronto. This time, he'll need an effort like his last one against the Red Sox. Baker pitched masterfully last July 7 at Fenway Park, throwing seven scoreless innings in a no-decision. But the Twins lost, 1-0, on Manny Ramirez's RBI single off reliever Brian Bass in the eighth. Tidbits
The five-game winning streak by the Red Sox is their longest since winning seven in a row last May 17-22 ... Kevin Youkilis has reached base in all 13 games and had at least one hit in 11 of them ... Ortiz's 737 RBIs tie him with Hall of Famer Joe Cronin for 10th on the team's all-time list ... Dustin Pedroia is 9-for-18 on the first four games of the homestand. Tickets
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Wednesday: Red Sox (Brad Penny, 1-0, 11.00) vs. Twins (Francisco Liriano, 0-3, 5.09), 7:10 p.m. ET
Friday: Red Sox (Jon Lester, 1-2, 5.50) vs. Yankees (Joba Chamberlain, 0-0, 5.0), 7:10 p.m. ET
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.