David Ortiz is enjoying a great World Series so far, which of course shouldn't surprise anyone. As Tyler Kepner writes Friday in the Times, it's just business as usual for Papi:
There are milkshakes and there are candy bars, and Ortiz should have one of those by now. He is the closest thing to Reggie Jackson since the original Mr. October. Even when he hits .091 in a playoff series, as he did in the A.L.C.S. against Detroit, his theatrics steal the show.
Ortiz launched his legend into deeper orbit in Game 2 against the Tigers, with a grand slam that turned the series and turned Torii Hunter upside down. Ortiz’s disappearance for the rest of the games (he was 2 for 22 overall) hardly mattered. As Kirk Gibson knows, sometimes one big hit in a series is all you need.
When Beltran robbed him of another grand slam on Wednesday — severely bruising his ribs in the process — Ortiz settled for a sacrifice fly and got his homer later, off Kevin Siegrist, a rocket to the front row of seats behind a bullpen roof in right.
Thursday’s homer off Wacha tied Ortiz with Jim Thome for seventh on the career postseason list...
I do have one quibble: Comparing Ortiz to Reggie Jackson does Ortiz a disservice, because Jackson was not a particularly brilliant postseason hitter. Yes, he was great in the World Series. But his League Championship Series record wasn't at all smashing; maybe his nickname should have been "Mr. Serious" or something, and if the writers of the time had been more accustomed to the pre-World Series playoffs, I suspect that Reggie wouldn't have gotten a nickname at all.
So who really deserves the sobriquet? Fortunately, someone's done the work:
Ortiz/Beltran excellence not hyperbole - 2 of the 3 best hitters in playoff history by WPA. Top and Bottom 44: http://t.co/3klLPxBCVw— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) October 25, 2013
Here are the top five on the postseason WPA list:
1. Albert Pujols
2. David Ortiz
3. Carlos Beltrán
4. Lance Berkman
5. Pete Rose
Oh, and a HUGE Honorable Mention for Lou Gehrig, who's sixth on the list despite playing in only 34 postseason games; by comparison, Pujols has played in 74, Ortiz 78. Considering both performance and opportunity, it's pretty easy to make the case that Gehrig's actually the most valuable postseason hitter of all time.
Reggie's 31st on the list, despite playing in 77 postseason games. That's still pretty good! Just not as good as David Ortiz. Or David Freese. Or (gulp) James Loney.
Hey, it's just a fun list. It's not the Gospel of Clutch or whatever. But it makes you think a little.