A season slipping away took another crushing turn last night, even before a ragtag team of Red Sox was beaten, 9-0, by the Oakland Athletics.
About 20 minutes before the first pitch, David Ortiz was scratched from a starting lineup that once again was missing Manny RamÃrez. “He isn’t feeling well,” said PR man Peter Chase, who had been briefed on Ortiz’s condition in the dugout by Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein.
But it wasn’t until after the game that manager Terry Francona revealed that Ortiz had experienced another episode involving an apparent irregular heartbeat, the one that had sent him to the hospital overnight during the recent Yankees series.
The team isn’t taking any chances, Francona said. Ortiz is flying back to Boston today to be examined by doctors.
This is the first instance of Ortiz missing playing time since these heartbeat episodes began over a week ago. If you’re thinking Carlos Pena’s gonna make the most of his latest big break, well, I admire your optimism. Jon Lester went on the DL with back trouble yesterday — but if anyone would like to remind us (again) how none of Boston’s injuries woes can possibly compare to losing Matsui and Sheffield’s Little Mustache, please, go right ahead. I reckon that had Varitek not gone down, the Yankees’ 7 game lead would be closer to 2 or 3 at this stage.
In any event, losing 17 of their last 21 and showing little fight, undermanned or not, all pennant race considerations rank a distant second compared to Papi’s condition. Particularly as there’s not likely to be much of a race remaining.