21 May 2009
Our buddy Fragile Freddy pulled some interesting info today on Jim Rice's 180-game homerless streak in 1988 and compared it to Big Papi's recent 137-game slump:
In 1988 the Red Sox had a beloved power hitter who was off to a dreadful start. Just two years before this player had finished third in the AL MVP voting and had had a disappointing and injury-riddled previous season.
Jim Rice started 1988 in a horrific slump. Like Ortiz Rice was looking overmatched on a nightly basis and woke up the morning of June 13 with a .584 OPS and still had not hit a home run through 180 at bats. The question was had Jim Rice gotten off steroids, no wait, the question was had Jim Rice just "lost it" as so many players had over the years?
On June 13th the Red Sox lost to the New York Yankees 12-6. Rice homered twice that day off starter Rich Dotson and started to hit better from that day forward. From June 14 to the end of the season Rice had a .799 OPS which would have been good for about a 125 OPS+ in 1988, not great, but certainly productive.
I'll take it one step furyher and break down the rest of Rice's 1988 stats:June: 90 AB, .333 BA, .973 OPS, 4 HR, 5 2B, 23 RBI, 15 BB, 8 SO
July: 96 AB, .281 BA, 795 OPS, 2 HR, 7 2B, 11 RBI, 9 BB, 22 SO
August: 86.AB , 244 BA, .719 OPS, 4 HR, 2 2B, 10 RBI, 9 BB, 24 SO
Sept/Oct: 62 AB, .226 BA, .774 OPS, 5 HR, 1 2B, 15 RBI 4 BB, 8 SO
Bottom Line: Rice finished the 1998 season with 15 HR, 18 2B, 78 RBI and a .264 BA. A far cry from the 39 HR, 126 RBI season he posted in 1983. To be honest, he was a shell of himself at this point in his career...
Rice was 35 in 1988, Ortiz is 34 right now. Rice had 209 at-bats in 1989 and was out of the game after that... his best years had come and gone. That may be true of Ortiz as well, but I think we can still hope for 20+ homers and 80+ RBI come September...
Ortiz is just two years removed from his last 30+ home run season... and he hit 21 of those 35 ding dongs after the All-Star break (17 in Aug. & Sept.)... I'm just saying si all...
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