Ortiz Hits The Ground Running

The 2013 Red Sox are counting on David Ortiz as much as any Red Sox team ever has. Going into 2003 and 2004 the club expected Manny Ramirez and Nomar Garciaparra to shoulder most of the offensive load. In 2007, Ortiz was the leader of the Sox lineup, but they still had Manny, Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilis, and an emerging Dustin Pedroia. Contrast that with the current supporting cast of Pedroia, Ellsbury, Mike Napoli, and Will Middlebrooks and ask yourself which club needed a huge year from David Ortiz more.

At his advanced age and coming off what turned out to be a major injury there was ample reason to be concerned that Ortiz wouldn't be able to be the same threat he has been the past couple of years. Since coming off the DL those fears should be allayed. Despite having less than 20 ABs under his belt before coming up, Otriz's timing has been spot on.

Perhaps more reassuring has been how Ortiz has looked on the basepaths. While never fast, he has been able to run with maximum effort without difficulty. If he was hobbling around, or jogging like Edgar Martinez to protect his ankle, that would be a sign the ankle is still an issue. Thankfully it appears that it is not.

With Ortiz anchoring the lineup this team will need to score runs. Other than Clay Buchholz, there's nobody else in the rotation the team can count on to go deep into games. The key arms in the pen have been ridden hard at times as the Sox have played a number of close games. If the bats can give the club a cushion like last night, John Farrell will b able to spell Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara, and Andrew Bailey.