Now in their second season without David Ortiz, the Red Sox appear better adjusted to life without their old leader. He’s still around, though, and he said Sunday he talked recently with MVP candidate Mookie Betts, who has been struggling lately.
“I was talking to Mookie the other day and I basically told him, ‘Hey, it’s a long season man, there’s going to be those times where you’re going to feel like the whole planet’s on top of your shoulders,’” Ortiz told NESN’s Jahmai Webster on Sunday at Fenway Park, where Big Papi stopped by the annual Latino Family Festival. “‘You need to navigate, you need to just hang on and wait until you start feeling better. Because it’s a long season.’
“August is a month that it’s tough for everyone. I don’t really care about whatever’s going on right now. We did something really good from the very beginning of the season. We’ll get on top, make sure we go into the playoffs. I know we’re going to be in. I think it’s looking good.
“We got David Price pitching better, that’s something that made me really happy.”
Betts went 1-for-2 with a steal and a strikeout on Sunday as the Red Sox were swept in three games by the Rays in St. Petersburg, dropping the finale, 9-1. Betts was 6-for-38 (.158) in his previous nine games, with nine strikeouts and three walks.
In spring training this year, Betts discussed Ortiz's missing impact.
“As a whole group, it's just going to take four or five, six guys to kinda fill that one spot," Betts said. "It just lets you know how important he was.”
The Sox have been doing marvelously well in 2018 and hit their first second-half bump in the road only recently.
“Fenway’s my home,” Ortiz told Webster. “There’s no better place to do something like this.”
NBC SPORTS | Evan Drellich | August 26, 2018