Jeremy Hermida was the hero last night at Fenway, as he banged a bases-clearing double in the 8th inning as the Red Sox made it two straight over the Angels, 5-1.
Jon Lester was outstanding over eight innings, allowing just one run, and got out of a bases loaded mess in the 8th by getting Bobby Abreu to hit a grounder to Dustin Pedroia, who tagged Erick Aybar (pictured), who stopped coming from first, and flipped the ball to Kevin Youkilis for a nifty DP.
But once again, it was another night to forget for David Ortiz.
Two strikeouts, and he hit into two critical double plays.
In the first, he whiffed with second and third and two outs with the first run in. Next he hit into a DP with first and second. He later struck out on three pitches, and looked badly doing so. And in the 8th, he could have made this awful night go away quickly, as he came up with the bases loaded and no outs. Just a fly ball would have given the Sox the lead. (Remember the first Tampa Bay game in the 11th inning?)
And what happens? He grounds to second, which becomes a 4-2-3 double play. Hermida bailed him out with his double and got the Red Sox a critical win.
And Mike Lowell added to Papi's misery later in the inning, as he came off the bench to pinch hit and doubled in Hermida for the fifth run.
Lowell had four hits the previous night and forced to sit because a right hander (Ervin Santana) was going for the Angels. And he comes off the bench to give the Red Sox more insurance.
Dustin Pedroia offered some support for Big Papi after the game, and I really respect him for doing so.
It really pains me to write this. David Ortiz belongs on the bench. Period. I don't see how Terry Francona can leave a hot Mike Lowell sitting while Ortiz brings his below .200 average to the plate. I know how much Papi has meant to the recent history of this franchise and he deserves the support of every Red Sox fan. (I'll never, ever boo him. Ever. And no right-thinking Sox fan ever should either.) He's a class guy and loved by all who know him. But now it is quite apparent his best days are now behind him. It is painful and sad to see to see him flailing away unsuccessfully in every clutch situation that presents itself. I was hoping the two bombs he hit in Baltimore last Saturday night might have been the beginning of a Papi Renaissance.
I really don't think it's going to happen.
Mike Lowell should be the full-time DH. Period.
David Ortiz will be one of the most beloved players in Red Sox history, forever. He deserves the respect of every Red Sox fan, especially now. It's just sad to see his great run winding down the way it is.