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October 5, 2013

Playoff Prospectus

ALDS Game Two: Red Sox 7, Rays 4

by Zachary Levine


Sometimes narratives have a way of working themselves out. If David Ortiz’s impressive blast down the right field line had gone foul, it would have been no big deal. The Red Sox were still going to beat the be-Deviled Rays with Koji Uehara coming out for the ninth and we’d probably still be talking about a lot of the same things.

But the fact that it stayed fair beyond the Pesky Pole was an exclamation point on the two things we’ll choose to take away from the Red Sox’s 7-4 win to take a 2-0 series lead Saturday night. David Price got lit up from the first inning to that last pitch, failing to generate swings and misses and giving up hard contact from missing his spots in addition to some softer ones that reflected the luck of these two games! And this was the game—there’s at least one in every series—where the managers were going to make you aware of their existence!

Joe Maddon, with a rested back end of the bullpen and an off-day coming Sunday, left Price in a batter (or more) too long to face Ortiz, who had homered off him in the first inning. This is admittedly a terrible sentence. That’s just about the definition of analysis from small sample sizes. Ortiz hits 117 points lower in True Average (TAv) against lefties than he does against righties.

Price had made a nice career against Ortiz—the DH was hitting .216/.310/297 with no home runs in 42 plate appearances. Price had enjoyed that much success mostly by going up and away with the fastballs, which are in black here.

However, the first ball that was gone was a cutter that got a lot of the white space where he’d never lived before against Ortiz. The second was a fastball just above belt-high and on the inside corner that Maddon described as “hanging”—a rare description for a fastball.

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Related Content:  Boston Red Sox,  Tampa Bay Rays,  David Ortiz

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Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: NL... (10/06)

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