NEW YORK -- To the Boston Red Sox fan watching David Ortiz and wondering if he’ll rethink his plans to retire, we have some bad news for you: Ortiz doesn’t sound like someone on the verge of changing his mind.
“No, I’m retiring,” the slugger said matter-of-factly Sunday night.
If what happened Sunday in the Bronx is any indication, Ortiz will walk away with plenty of good swings left in his 230-pound frame.
The 40-year-old hit two mammoth home runs into the right-field seats off young Yankees righty Luis Severino in Boston's 5-1 win. The home runs helped Boston avoid a sweep in the three-game series, and they were Nos. 51 and 52 against the Yankees in Ortiz's career.
“In this ballpark, he’s extremely dangerous,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “He’s having a lot of fun.”
Ortiz is also inching up the ladder of one of the most important lists in baseball history. He now has 512 career home runs, which is tied with Eddie Mathews and Ernie Banks for 22nd all time. Ortiz is nine behind Ted Williams, Frank Thomas and Willie McCovey, who are tied with 521.
Ortiz has 454 home runs as a member of the Boston Red Sox. That’s the second most in club history and two more than Carl Yastrzemski. Ortiz is unlikely to catch Williams, the club’s all-time leader with 521.
“You’re talking about all-time greats. They’ve done wonderful things,” Ortiz said. “To be part of it, to be part of a special group, it’s an honor.”
Ortiz’s strong night overshadowed that of Steven Wright, who had another strong start in a season full of them. Wright tossed a complete game, allowed three hits and faced two batters more than the minimum in the win.
The knuckleballer extended his streak of games in which he pitched at least six innings and allowed two or fewer runs to six. In the past 50 years, only Roger Clemens (1993, 1991) and Clay Buchholz (2013) have started seasons with at least six such games for the Red Sox. That’s some heady company for a player acquired in a trade for a faded prospect prior to the non-waiver trade deadline in 2012.
“He was in control from start to finish,” Farrell said.
The manager added that Wright's place in Boston’s rotation is firm.
“I think his pitching is speaking loud and clear,” he said.
The same could be said of Ortiz’s bat. Ortiz has hit six home runs in his past nine games and entered play Sunday with an AL-leading .694 slugging percentage.
Ortiz’s dominance of the Yankees has been well-documented. On Sunday, he moved into fifth all time in career home runs against New York, behind Jimmie Foxx (70), Ted Williams (62), Manny Ramirez (55) and Hank Greenberg (53).
“It’s a good park to hit homers,” Ortiz said of Yankee Stadium.
Unless the Yankees and Red Sox meet in the postseason, Ortiz's last game at Yankee Stadium will be Sept. 29. If what he has shown the past few games is any indication, he will be a hitter the Yankees fear until his final at-bat in the Bronx.
“He’s had a great career," Farrell said, "with no signs of slowing down."