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“Just put down ‘Papi stinks.'”

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.208, 14 R, O HR, 15 RBI.

The Red Sox’s David Ortiz isn’t afraid to admit he’s in a slump; the words above came from his mouth, not mine.

Known for clutch hitting, Ortiz’s season reached a new low last night when he went 0-7 while stranding 12 baserunners, tying a dubious club record. Ortiz has yet to hit a homerun this season and last night leaves his average at an extremely weak .208.

Some analysts have been slow to denounce Ortiz’s current struggles because of similar trends in his career. Last April, he hit a paltry .198 before turning it on and batting .318 in May.

I, however, am not that breed of analyst. Over two weeks ago I published “David Ortiz officially renamed ‘Little Papi‘” with my reasons for his struggles. I stand by all of it.

It’s the middle of May and Ortiz hasn’t shown anything. He’s struck out 30 times, hasn’t hit a homerun, and driven in just 15 from the three-hole of one of the league’s most potent offenses. For comparison’s sake, Jason Kendall is batting .220 with O HRs, four less RBI, and one less run scored from the eight-hole of the Milwaukee Brewers.

It would be encouraging is Ortiz’s on-base-percentage was improving, but it still continues to hover around .300, almost exactly where it was during his struggles last season. Last May, it jumped 100 points between April and May, but this year it’s increased just 60 points. In addition, his on-base-plus-slugging and slugging percentages have both decreased from last month.

There’s a good chance that Ortiz’s struggles last April were just that: struggles to get adjusted, struggles to get in physical shape, and struggles to get his swing going. Even though he had a horrible batting average, he still managed to produce, hitting 5 homers with 21 RBI.

After last night’s debacle, Terry Francona needs to move Big Papi into a different spot in the order. I don’t know if it’s now the pressure associated with the slump, the pitches he’s seeing, or that he’s just completely lost, but Ortiz needs to be removed from the heart of the order. If he isn’t tonight, I will be shocked.

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