How Not to Pitch to David Ortiz

Let’s not underestimate the ability of David Ortiz to hit the baseball.

But let us also accept that Big Papi is not Ted Williams and even Ted Williams was out six-and-a-half times in every ten at bats.

Like most great left-handed hitters, Ortiz owns the lower portion of the plate. Look at the hot and cold zones for Big Papi from the regular season and you can see his strength is in the shape of a serifed “L” starting from the .300 on the inside, down the inside, across the bottom of the plate and ending in the middle of the part of the plate.

Take a look at what I’m describing:

Ortiz regular season

Along with his hot spots, you can see the blue areas where Ortiz is less than effective

The Cardinals clearly didn’t get the message

In the 1st inning, Adam Wainwright made a really good pitch here and got a double play grounder to second. Unfortunately for Wainwright, Pete Kozma forgot to catch the ball.

(the green dot represents “in play”)

Ortiz 1st

Wainwright missed his spot in the 2nd inning with the bases loaded and Ortiz crushed it and Carlos Beltran crushed his ribs making the over-the-fence catch.
Ortiz 2nd

In the 5th inning, Wainwright’s location again was in Papi’s hitting zone and he paid for it with a line drive single to center.
Ortiz 5th

In the 7th inning, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny brought in Kevin Siegrist in the match-up we anticipated in this postseason and this time it was clearly won by Ortiz who crushed a huge homer, the first homer that Siegrist allowed to a lefty all season.

This was not exactly in the David’s hottest zone, but when you throw a 96 mph four-seamer right down the heart of the plate, don’t be surprised when it leaves the bat at 98 mph and ends up in the bleachers.
Ortiz 7th

Ortiz deserves a lot of credit for capitalizing on the Cardinals mistakes, something that all the Sox did all night long. If the Cardinals want to win this Series, those mistakes have to decrease.