Big Papi is certainly on the decline at essentially three months from turning 40, but he is still some sort of old man strong. In the top of the 4th inning at Yankee Stadium, he taught young Luis Severino an important lesson by crushing the third pitch in the at bat, a 96 MPH heater, that was grooved just a hair inside dead center. In case you’ve been abducted by aliens and lost the last 15 years to inter-dimensional travel and telepathic communication, that pitch location is exactly where David Ortiz likes it. Particularly if he wants to dump one 435 feet away from home plate in right-center. Even Dennis Eckersley had to make note of it (about 0:42 into the highlight video).
You can’t throw him a 2-0 fastball right there!
The home run is the 487th of his career, still in 29th place on the all-time list. He’s now 6 dingers back of tying “The Crime Dog” Fred McGriff. Will he catch him by September? The way he’s been swinging the bat lately – his July line is .298/.398/.619 with 7 HRs and 22 RBIs – it might be a safe bet. Ortiz has hit 20 or more homers in 14 straight seasons, all but one with the Boston Red Sox.
In looking at a FanGraphs heat map that tracks Ortiz’s ISO/P, Severino did hit a hot zone for Big Papi, but it might not have even been the most dangerous place to live.
Nevertheless, the result is something that warms Red Sox fans with a certain feel of home, even, and especially, when he’s doing it to the Yankees in their house.