My regular readers know how obsessed I am with clutch hitting and the disparity between David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez in this category. ESPN defines "close and late" stats as results in the 7th inning or later with the batting team either ahead by one run, tied or with the potential tying run at least on deck. Yesterday, Ortiz had yet another game-winning hit to end the game. The Elias Sports Bureau reported this morning that it was his 11th since joining the Red Sox in 2003. That's two more than any other major league player over that span. Albert Pujols has nine walkoff hits since 2003. The last major league player to have 11 or more walkoff hits over a four-season span was current Houston manager Phil Garner. "Scrap Iron" had 11 walkoff hits for the Astros from 1982-85.
So, how does ARod's close and late performance compare to that of Big Papi? I'm glad you asked. ARod is actually improving lately (it would be hard to do otherwise), and currently stands with a .621 OPS in these situations. He has still struck out 17 times in 57 at-bats, which could mean that he's pressing a little too hard. This is a pace for nearly 200 K's over an entire season. He also posts 2 home runs and 8 RBI. David Ortiz, in the same amount of at-bats, has recorded a sick OPS of 1.076 with 13 K's, 8 HR and 19 RBI. You tell me who's the best.
Meanwhile, yesterday I posted that the Sox should offer up Coco for a 3rd starter-type. Apparently Theo was reading because he offered Coco up for Mark Buehrle, but the White Sox said no. Buehrle is an interesting case. With a 9-6 record and 4.02 ERA before the break, he is 0-3 with a 11.15 ERA since. Hitters are averaging .373 off of him and his WHIP is just about 2.00 since the break. But that's misleading. His freefall actually started before the break. Over his past 5 starts, he's thrown 26.2 innings, allowing 34 runs, for an 11.67 ERA. And he's making $8 million this year. I'm not sure this guy is better than Kyle Snyder right now.