100Rtiz

David Ortiz got his 100th RBI tonight in a drubbing of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He went 1-3 with 2 RBI and one walk. The RBIs came on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second, scoring Youkilis, and doubled to right in the bottom of the seventh to score Mientkiewicz. Prior to tonight’s game, he was hitting .308/.374 with 28 HR and 98 RBI.

David Ortiz has been incredible for the Red Sox this year, consistently batting in the three-hole and being a fan favorite. Signing for what people could argue is a below market contract certainly endears us to him. Ortiz is currently one of three people signed through 2006 along with Manny Ramirez and Keith Foulke. In 2007, Foulke is the only one assured of being a Red Sox (assuming he is not traded). Ortiz has a $7.75 million option for 2007 ($0.75 million buyout). He is going to anchor this lineup for years to come.

By the time 2006 rolls around, you can bet dollars to dimes that this lineup is going to be vastly different. It will be nice to have our three- and four-hole hitters be constant though. The overturn that will surely occur will be easier to swallow knowing our HR and RBI men are the same. One thing’s for sure though ‚Ķ we are lucky to have David Ortiz.

Gotta Love Kapler

Gabe Kapler has been a vital part of the Red Sox this season, and before tonight’s game (in which he went 0-1 as a late-inning replacement), he had amassed 200 at-bats, hitting at a .290/.325 clip with a doable .435 slugging percentage. His statistics are quite similar to last year’s stats. Not only are we endeared by Kapler’s all-out style (previously covered here), he apparently is a good guy as well:

FINED, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

In the end, it was a good thing Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler tackled Yankee pitcher Tanyon Sturtze during the A-Rod/Jason Varitek melee at Fenway. Not because Sturtze, a Worcester native, suffered a bloody ear, but because listeners of WFNX last week raised $2,204 to pay Kapler’s $1,000 fine. (Everyone who contributed at least $19 ‚Äì Kapler’s uni number ‚Äì received an ‚ÄòFNX T-shirt.) Being a generous dude, Kapler matched the donations and will present the money to a foundation for children of battered women.

Myers Proving to Matter

When the Red Sox acquired Mike Myers, the hope was that Francona would use him as opposed to sitting him, much like he was doing to Ramiro Mendoza and Terry Adams. While Mendoza and Adams have been pitching more frequently as of late, Myers has made a big impact.

Well, before tonight, he had pitched in two games, each game logging .1 IP. The first game he appeared saw Varitek throw out a runner caught stealing, and the second game saw him come in a pressure situation and strike out a lefty. Tonight all he did was take care of the 8th and 9th, giving up one hit. The confidence recently exhibited by Francona in Mendoza, Adams, and Myers has been rewarded as they have all put up good numbers.

Speaking of Mendoza, he pitched tonight also, heaving 1.1 IP (1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K). He has been feeling great recently, and this Boston Globe article notes that:

“I feel a lot of confidence, in control of my pitching,” Mendoza said. “I’m feeling good.”

That’s a stark contrast to last season, when Mendoza pitched despite feeling the early stages of what kept him out for the first half of this season. That might help explain the worst season of his career; he posted a 6.75 ERA in his first season out of pinstripes.

“Last year, it was always pain, pain,” Mendoza said. “It would never go away. Now, it feels good.”

Good managing by Francona tonight. He gives Mendoza innings to continue to see if Mendoza can excel. What should also not be missed is the fact he’s giving Mendoza more innings, less time between games, to see if he can be used frequently, to see if his shoulder will not flare up.

What I also liked was the subbing of EVERY single player into the game. While that might have posed a hazard due to a possible injury, I think it was a great way to get everyone playing time. Sure, it took a blowout for Francona to manage effectively, but I think he did a bang-up job tonight, especially the handling of starting pitcher Derek Lowe (now 10-10). Lowe developed a blister in the fifth and was removed immediately in the sixth when it became a problem.

Let’s take two of three from Tampa Bay and sweep the Chicago White Sox. I will be at the game on the 15th to celebrate my birthday, which is the 16th (which is the day Babe Ruth and Elvis died, and also the same day Jimy Williams was fired, at which game I attended). Here’s hoping for a gem from Bronson Arroyo.