I caught last Sunday night's ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game between the Brewers and the Cardinals, and Jon Miller spoke with Joe Morgan and Orel Hershiser about Mark McGwire's new job as hitting coach with St. Louis. A big portion of the discussion was about Albert Pujols' early season struggles at the plate and what McGwire should do about them. After all, that's what a hitting coach is paid to do.
It got me to thinking about what's going on in Boston with David Ortiz.
Obviously, there is something wrong with No. 34's approach at the plate. It's clear to anyone who watches baseball. Big Papi isn't Big Papi right now, and this is the same thing that happened at the beginning of last season. He eventually figured it out. This season, the questions about Papi's problems popped up immediately.
The reason I bring this up is because I think Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan needs to address this. He needs to completely re-work Ortiz's approach. Ortiz's approach, right now, is less than poor. He is swinging at crappy pitches, and Red Sox Nation is losing confidence in him. They don't want the Big Papi of 2003 and 2004 and 2005 to return; that will never happen. The power is gone, and fans know this. They just want him to be consistently getting on base and/or driving in runs ahead of him, which doesn't have to come from the long ball. Magadan has to convince him that going to the opposite field with the shift employed upon him is necessary to help the team. Magadan needs to be the teacher who helps a struggling student. It's time for more time in the cage, and it's time for Remedial Hitting.
If it doesn't happen soon, Ortiz will be out the door. It's a shame because it doesn't have to end this way. A simple tweak in his approach is all that needs to be done, and that's Magadan's responsibility. Failing to address this issue would be a failure in Magadan's job description.
If Ortiz goes, Magadan should go, too.