Sunday was a tragic day in the world of baseball as Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident early Sunday morning in Miami. Before the Rays-Red Sox game there was a tribute to Fernandez on the video board where Ortiz was seen getting emotional.

On Monday, appearing on Dale & Holley, Ortiz offered how he will remember Fernandez and also explained how difficult Sunday was for him.

“That hit home for me big time,” Ortiz said. “I knew Jose a little bit. Great kid. Unbelievable person. Face of the game, definitely. He had so many years in front of him to do things — special things. Then this tragedy happened. All I could think about yesterday was him and his family. He’s got a baby on the way. His mom, his grandmother. The story behind being from Cuba. Yesterday during the game I couldn’t stop think about that. It’s something that we’re all feeling, especially when a good guy goes down like that. I come back to his family and all his friends around the world, Major League Baseball. I was super sad.

“I started thinking about it and I remember during the All-Star game he came up to me and was like ‘Hey, Papi.’ He was a very happy guy. ‘I’m going to have one jersey at my house and it’s yours. Your my favorite player.’ We started talking: ‘Hey, if I face you in this game, I am going to throw you my best fastball. Let’s see if you can hit it.’ We joked about it and talked about things. Very happy. Very humble kid. Sweet guy. In Miami, I talked to my fiends down there and everyone down in Miami is in absolute shock with his situation. It was hard, man. You know how they had the ceremony for me for the retirement, they asked me and I was like, ‘Man, it’s all about Jose today.’

“… It wasn’t a good day. It wasn’t a good day. By the time we were having the ceremony for Jose and when they were showing the stuff about him on the screen, I couldn’t help it. It was so sad. It was something — man, it hit me.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz appeared on the Dale & Holley with Thornton show Monday to talk about a number of things including John Farrell and potentially winning American League MVP in his final season. To hear the interview, go to the D&H audio on demand page.

David Ortiz

David Ortiz

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz appeared on the Dale & Holley with Thornton show Monday to talk about a number of things including John Farrell and potentially winning American League MVP in his final season. To hear the interview, go to the D&H audio on demand page.

Throughout the season many have questioned Farrell and his in-game decision making, but Ortiz completely backed his manager, saying he loves the way things are going right now.

“Man, John isn’t wasting time,” Ortiz said. “John, the way he’s managing the bullpen, the way he’s pulling with all of us, it’s perfect. It could get no better. He’s got everything under control really well. We’re so excited. We’re super happy the way he’s doing things right now. He’s not wasting time, any minute. I love the way he’s running this ballclub right now.”

Ortiz is currently tied for second in the American League in batting average, hitting .321, second in RBIs with 124 and leads all of baseball with a slugging percentage of .632. With the numbers he’s putting up, it’s no surprise he’s in the conversation for American League MVP in his final season.

The designated hitter says he doesn’t really care about it, as he’s focused on winning.

“I never really think of it because of all the crap and negativity [it] always brings along with,” Ortiz said. “I have had MVP numbers before and just because I don’t play defense they always down me. They have to always head in a different direction. If it happens, it happens. If it don’t, I’m not really going to go crazy about it. I care about winning and winning another World Series. Those are the things I really care about because personal numbers are always going to be personal numbers.”

Being 40 years old and playing in 145 games, Ortiz admitted he isn’t 100 percent health wise, but is ready for the postseason.

“I’m not going to lie to you about telling you I’m 100 percent good,” he said. “There’s no way. We play so many games. This is the time where your body starts breaking down and starting to stop. The situation we’re in right now sometimes makes you forget about pain and go out there and keep on doing what you’re doing. Reality is, I’m good to go right now. I’m excited about the playoffs coming up. Hopefully, injuries just wait until I retire.”

Currently, the Red Sox are the hottest team in baseball winning 11 straight games. They also lead the majors in runs scored with 861 entering play Monday. Ortiz said this isn’t surprising to him.

“Not really,” he said. “We have so many good players. We have so many talented kids. It’s amazing. We knew it was going to click at some point. I told you guys in spring training way before the season started that we were going to hit. I told you guys. In some interview during spring training they asked me about our offense and I was like, ‘We’re going to hit.’ I was confident. The players that we have are so talented. These kids they work hard every day in and out. Trust me, it was just a matter of time.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

It had been a staple for Red Sox postseason teams.

The guy who not only could come on to pinch-run, but do so in a fashion where you had a pretty good idea a base was going to be stolen in the process. Dave Roberts obviously set the bar in 2004 after being picked up at the non-waiver trade deadline for Henri Stanley, going on to execute the most important steal in Red Sox history.

Marco Hernandez may very well be the Red Sox' pinch-running option in the postseason. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Marco Hernandez may very well be the Red Sox’ pinch-running option in the postseason. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

It had been a staple for Red Sox postseason teams.

The guy who not only could come on to pinch-run, but do so in a fashion where you had a pretty good idea a base was going to be stolen in the process. Dave Roberts obviously set the bar in 2004 after being picked up at the non-waiver trade deadline for Henri Stanley, going on to execute the most important steal in Red Sox history.

Then there was Joey Gathright, who the Red Sox signed for the season’s final month both in 2009 and 2011. He would pinch-run for David Ortiz in Game 3 of the ’09 American League Division Series, stealing a base and then coming on to score via Mike Lowell’s RBI single to put the Sox up by two runs.

And, most recently, it was Quintin Berry who got the opportunity, finding his way on to the Red Sox’ postseason roster in all three rounds of the 2013 world championship run following an Aug. 27 trade that pried him away from the Royals in exchange for Clayton Mortensen. Berry went 3-for-3 in steal attempts during the 2013 playoffs, one in each round.

This time around, however, there won’t be that guy.

“We have no other choice,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “We looked at trying to acquire that type of player, and we thought might have been some internal candidates that could serve it as well. But we end up probably not being as proficient in that single kind of player.”

As Farrell noted, the Red Sox tried to find that guy. And one of the players they at least contacted was Berry, who had been released by the Angels. But the 31-year-old outfielder chose to sign with the Blue Jays, who ended up releasing him less than two weeks later.

There was some thought in the organization that Yoan Moncada, he of 94 minor-league stolen bases in 109 attempts, might be the solution. Then came the pickoff in Oakland, and forgetting how many outs there were in Toronto, and it was clear he was not ready to put on such a stage.

So, where does it leave the Red Sox? Marco Hernandez, that’s where.

With the Red Sox typically keeping 11 pitchers on the playoff roster, there will be a spot for that extra position player. And while Hernandez has only stolen one big league bag, while going just 4-for-6 with Triple-A Pawtucket this season, he, along with maybe Brock Holt, will likely be the players Farrell turns to when needing more speed on the basepaths.

It as Hernandez who got the call to pinch-run for Ortiz Sunday in the 10th inning after the designated hitter’s double.

“Here’s the thing, there will be certain game situations where we will have an upgrade in speed as needed. It might not be the pro typical base-stealer to get you 90 feet. But the ability to get from first to third, two bases, that is still present,” Farrell said.

The good news is that because of the athletic lineup the Red Sox possess, there might not be a dramatic need for extra speed. Other than Ortiz and the catcher, virtually every starting player has the ability to swipe a bag. And even Travis Shaw has stolen five bases in six attempts this season.

“We have more team speed, but I can’t say that those single opportunities that arise … We don’t have that one particular guy,” Farrell said.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

David Ortiz and Joe Kelly celebrate the Red Sox' latest win Sunday afternoon. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)How did this happen?



Joe and Tim talked to the Sox catcher, who caught 23 strikeouts from Sox pitchers in the extra-inning win in Tampa Bay.

[0:01:01] ... it the fourth which still selective backswing pretty well. Yeah I feel good food in and then hopefully it is so you know. The game to win and you know. Publicly we think I get it ...
[0:01:50] ... lot of power pitchers on the staff and and sometimes it can ditch effort to catch especially. You know Kelly what he continues to complement 9900 miles an hour we got you know rearm reasonable Lennon ...
[0:02:24] ... friendly and you know him and then the globe. Some moment from soy foods formally known. Well you know they care take care of them home. They're right can have been you know and as ourselves ...





Joe and Tim talked to the Sox catcher, who caught 23 strikeouts from Sox pitchers in the extra-inning win in Tampa Bay.

[0:02:41] ... them. Well thank you very much Christian. Appreciate your sentiments in the Red Sox. Make it eleven straight here today so the magic number down to to. Go back to my. ...



It’s hard to upstage winning 11 in a row, or knocking the magic number to win the American League East down to two. But the Red Sox’ pitchers and Dustin Pedroia seemingly did that in their team’s 3-2, 10-inning win over the Rays Sunday.

Once again, it was Pedroia’s contribution that meant the most.

David Ortiz, and other Red Sox, reflect on death of Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez prior to their game against the Rays Sunday afternoon. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz, and other Red Sox, reflect on death of Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez prior to their game against the Rays Sunday afternoon. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

It’s hard to upstage winning 11 in a row, or knocking the magic number to win the American League East down to two. But the Red Sox’ pitchers and Dustin Pedroia seemingly did that in their team’s 3-2, 10-inning win over the Rays Sunday.

Once again, it was Pedroia’s contribution that meant the most.

With one out and the second baseman standing at first in the 10th, David Ortiz rifled a shot into right-center field in what would be his last Tropicana Field at-bat. Pedroia would be waved in by third base coach Brian Butterfield, with the throw to catcher Luke Maile easily beating the baserunner.

But upon arriving at the plate, Pedroia began dancing around the tag of Maile until the catcher’s over-sized mitt (he was catching knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa) hit off the runner’s left leg. The contact forced the baseball out of the glove, allowing for the eventual game-winning run to score.

Then there were the strikeouts.

Red Sox pitchers struck out a franchise-record 23 batters in the win, including 11 straight at one point. The run of punch-outs was a major league record, surpassing Tom Seaver’s previous mark set in 1970. It was a stretch that started with Eduardo Rodriguez fanning Richie Shaffer to end the fourth inning and ending with Logan Forsythe finally singling off reliever Matt Barnes to leadoff the eighth inning.

Rodriguez ended up allowing a run on three hits over 5 1/3 innings, striking out a career-high 13 batters. He was followed by Heath Hembree, who struck out all five the batters he faced.

For the second time during the three-game series, it appeared Pedroia sealed the deal for the Red Sox via a home run, giving the visitors a lead in the third with a solo shot. But the Red Sox’ one-run lead disappeared in the eighth inning when Fernando Abad allowed an RBI single to Brad Miller.

The hit by Miller was the first allowed to a left-handed hitter by Abad since Aug. 10, and just the second inherited runner allowed to score by Red Sox relievers in September.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, Joe Kelly was able to come on and get out of a first and third jam by inducing a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Nick Franklin to end the eighth.

Kelly went on to earn the win, pitching the last 2 1/3 innings.

For a complete box score, click here.

Closing Time note

The Red Sox set a franchise record for most strikeouts by pitching staff for a season, topping the total of the 2013 staff.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford