Wetmore: 5 thoughts, on Big Papi bombs, Hicks' challenge, Mauer
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MINNEAPOLIS - Kevin Correia struggled mightily and David Ortiz hit two more bombs Wednesday in an easy Red Sox win.
This column presents 5 thoughts from Wednesday's game.
As always, feel free to ask any questions or make any observations in the comments. If you have a unique baseball observation during a game, feel free to share it with me on Twitter (@DerekWetmore).
1. David Ortiz squared to bunt in his first at-bat, which is more amusing in hindsight than it was at the time I originally noted it. The Twins have a pronounced shift for Ortiz, but it's rare to see him give away an at-bat trying to 'beat' a shift. It's likely he was bluffing.
The one shift Ron Gardenhire said the Twins aren't allowed to use might actually be the best practice for stopping Ortiz.
"They don't let us shift him in the seats," Gardenhire joked before Wednesday's game.
2. David Ortiz, at 38, is a very good hitter. His .287/.384/.537 batting line is almost exactly in line with his career performance (.287/.381/.548). His consecutive multi-homer games are the first for the Red Sox in more than a decade (July 2003).
This is toying with arbitrary endpoints, I know, but over his past 12 games at Target Field, Ortiz is 29-for-50 (.580) with 11 home runs and 23 RBIs. His career numbers against the Twins are considerably worse. He's just 75-for-214 (.351) with 19 home runs and 49 RBIs in 56 games.
He went 3-for-5 with a double and two homers Wednesday, meaning the Twins succeeded at keeping him at bay twice. The other good news for Minnesota is that both homers were solo shots. Not much in the way of solace.
3. Trevor Plouffe made a nice stop on a hot-hit ground ball in the sixth inning off the bat of Jackie Bradley, Jr. With Xander Bogaerts on first and one out, it appeared Plouffe had time to get the ball to Brian Dozier at second to start an inning-ending double play.
For some reason, it didn't happen that way.
The ball was hit pretty hard and Plouffe had started his momentum toward second base. He short-armed the throw and the ball carried to the first-base side. Dozier, who was on the way to the bag, altered his course to catch the ball. By the time he caught it, he couldn't reach the base and didn't tag the runner, and the relay throw to first base was too late.
It wasn't clear who was culpable for the miscue, but by rule it is a fielder's choice, and was judged to be an error on Plouffe for the hurried throw. If Dozier would have been at the bag sooner, perhaps Plouffe puts the throw in a better spot.
Good pick by Plouffe, bad throw.
The next batter, Dustin Pedroia, drove in Bogaerts. This is minor in the scope of a 9-4 ballgame. It was a play that made me think, though, because teams hate giving extra outs to a team that hits as well as the Red Sox.
4. Aaron Hicks is being challenged to do more. Obviously he needs to hit better (.185/.270/.315 career), but the Twins also want him to be more prepared.
He went 1-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts Wednesday, drawing a start against the lefty Felix Doubront. The Twins like his right-handed swing better than his left-handed swing right now. I'm not sure whether that's mechanical or because of his approach, or both.
If the Twins had any suitable alternatives right now I imagine Hicks would be in the minor leagues.
5. Joe Mauer went 0-for-3 and was pinch-hit for in the ninth inning. Gardenhire said that's because he wanted to get Chris Colabello an at-bat.
I mentioned Hicks' approach (see thought 4) which at times seems non-existent. Mauer is the polar opposite. Fans get frustrated with Mauer, and sometimes it's justified (bases loaded groundout double play in the seventh inning Wednesday).
But I thought this was an interesting anecdote from assistant GM Rob Antony:
"When Mauer came up [in 2004], I had veteran players tell me, 'I've been trying to adopt an approach like he has my entire career. It's ridiculous what this guys does.'"
Mauer was 20.
"He's an outlier."