And I'm not buying it.
That theory implies that without Manny's protection, Ortiz isn't seeing the same pitches, ergo he is currently tied with me in the home run column.
That would make sense except Youkilis, Bay and Lowell are all off to terrific starts.
It just could be over. It reminds me of when Jim Rice had his sudden drop after the 1987 season.
The best right handed hitter in the AL for the previous 12 seasons suddenly because an automatic double play.
And like Ortiz, he was being overshadowed by young hitters. Guys like Burks, Greenwell and Benzinger were more productive and veterans like Boggs and Evans were still producing.
And all the while we kept waiting for Jim to break out of the slump... and he never did. And he hung around for the 1987, 1988 and 1989 seasons, a shell of his former self (and probably damaging his Cooperstown chances until this year.)
Papi could be done.
Sluggers of this era don't have a gradual decline. It is more like a slam cut to black for a lot of them.
Ortiz is no different.
Maybe there is a solution!
Don't drop him in the order! Make him the #2 guy!
Think of it. Everyone still thinks of him as Big Papi and they employ the shift... and he lays down the bunt each time.
He could bat .400 doing that and be on base for Pedroia, Youk, Bay, Lowell and Drew to drive him home.
Hey, that's better than feebly popping up!