While some key Red Sox bats (Varitek, Nixon, Renteria, Mueller) have gone cold at a most inopportune time - a September playoff hunt - David Ortiz has been Red Hot and Manny Ramirez, after a mild homerless slump, appears to have regained form as well.
Ramirez homered in the seventh inning last night, giving him 40 on the season. It was the fifth season in his career that he's hit 40 or more home runs, and he joined Carl Yastrzemski as the only Red Sox players to hit 40 or more in three different seasons.
Ramirez and Ortiz have combined for some remarkable offensive production this year. Ramirez's first-inning RBI single was the 270th RBI by the pair, surpassing their 2004 total. Ramirez later drove in two more with his 40th homer of the season, bringing their combined season total to 272, the fourth most by Sox teammates. The record is an unfathomable 318, set by Ted Williams and Vern Stephens in 1949.
Ortiz, who leads the AL with 46 home runs and the Majors with 140 RBIs, may win both AL crowns and will probably outpace his teammate, Ramirez (40 and 132). And Big Papi says he's been rubbing it in.
''I always give him some trash about it," Ortiz said. ''Manny says, 'Here I am, better hurry.' I say, 'You better hurry.' "
Ortiz's 46 homers have tied him with Jim Rice for the second highest single-season home run total in Red Sox history, narrowly trailing a Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx who holds the club record with 50. In the season's final week, Ortiz is vying to become only the second player in Sox history to belt 50 homers in a season. As it stands, Ortiz is already the most prolific single-season left-handed hitter in Sox history, surpassing the likes of 1967 MVP Carl Yastrzemski and Mo Vaughn (1996).
Big Papi's 87 homers over the span of the last two season are a club record, eclipsing the consecutive season mark previously set by Foxx in '37-'38. And Ortiz isn't simply the beneficiary of Fenway's "short porch" in right field either. His 27 road homers so far this year broke Ted Williams' team mark of 25, set back in 1957.
The dynamic duo of Ortiz and Ramirez have carried the Sox offense all season long, and for the team to advance into the playoffs it appears that they'll have to continue doing so. Here's wishing them well; good luck boys!