David Ortiz: 'Bro, I don't like losing'

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- David Ortiz sat wearily on his stool tucked away just inside the entrance to the visitors clubhouse Monday night, and beckoned to Jack McCormick, the team's traveling secretary.

"What time's the bus, Jack?" he asked.

It was time to get out of Anaheim, where the Boston Red Sox had just been swept four straight by the Los Angeles Angels, capped by a day-night doubleheader loss on Monday.

"It's bad, bro," Ortiz said. "I don't think I ever remember coming in here and losing a whole series like this, every game."

Nothing wrong with Ortiz's recall: In the 55-season history of the Angels' franchise, the Sox had never been beaten here in four straight.

Ortiz shook hands with Brian "Bubba' Harkins, the visiting clubhouse manager here for the last 26 years, slipping him a personal check and a wad of cash.

"Thank you for everything, man," he said. "You're the man."

His attention turned back to what had transpired on the field over the course of the last four days, the Angels flouting their superiority over the Red Sox with dominant starting pitching and an impressive show of power, hitting nine home runs to Boston's only response, Ortiz's two-run home run off rookie Andrew Heaney in the sixth inning of Monday night's 7-3 loss.

"These guys weren't swinging the bat that well before, were they?" he said.

For nearly two months, the Angels had foundered at the plate, posting a .650 OPS through their first 47 games, which ranked last in the American League. But they're pounding the ball now while winning 15 of their past 18 games to seize the lead in the AL West over Houston, which now trails L.A. by two games heading into their game Tuesday night at home against the Red Sox.

Albert Pujols and Mike Trout rank 1-2 in the league in home runs, with Pujols hitting three home runs Monday, one in the matinee and two in the nightcap, giving him 29. Trout hit two against the Red Sox, including Friday's walk-off against Koji Uehara, and has 28. Kole Calhoun also hit three home runs -- two off Rick Porcello Saturday night -- while David Freese hit one 452 feet off Sox reliever Noe Ramirez Monday afternoon.

Ortiz let out a long exhale.

"Their pitching's good," he said. "That kid tonight, [Andrew] Heaney, he's got good stuff. He don't have command, he missed a lot; he needs some location, but he's got good stuff."

Someone mentioned to Ortiz that the first two hitters in the Sox's lineup had combined to go 0-for-30 in the series.

"Peewee," Ortiz said, referring to Dustin Pedroia by the nickname he likes to use. "It's just timing. He was off three weeks. Mookie [Betts], I think the [All-Star] break affected him. He was just missing pitches; he'll be fine.

"But bro, this year is just a bad year, man. I've seen things here in 13 years I've never seen. Bro, it's just like we can't find a way. If we swing the bat good, we're out. If we don't swing the bat good, we're out. Look at the first three swings of the game tonight. I hit a line drive [out] to right field. Hanley [Ramirez], did you see that line drive [another out]? It's just crazy, man, just crazy."

How can anyone reasonably argue the Sox are still in contention, Ortiz was asked, with the team now nine games under .500 after losing five in a row, and nine games behind the idle Yankees in the AL East?

"Got to start winning," he said. "We're going to keep putting up the fight, man, you know? We got to battle, got to battle. Who knows, things will change and come our way."

The words, even to Ortiz, must sound hollow. The Sox had gone on a little run just before the break, but then they lost two out of three to the Yankees and were outscored by a combined 22-4 in the sweep by the Angels. The rookie left-hander, Eduardo Rodriguez, gave up seven runs in 1 2/3 innings in Monday afternoon's 11-1 loss. The apprentice knuckleballer, Steven Wright, was down 5-0 after three innings Monday night.

Another rookie, Brian Johnson, makes his big league debut Tuesday night in Houston.

Ortiz slowly took the wraps off his knees. Someone mentioned to him that he must feel more like 49 than 39 at times like these.

"Bro, I don't like losing," he said. "I don't like to lose."

He stood up.

"I'm going to take a shower," he said.