Should the Cardinals give David Ortiz the Barry Bonds treatment?

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times has an interesting look at the advice different members of the 2002 Angels would give the 2013 Cardinals. See, the 2002 Angels had to face Barry Bonds. The 2013 Cardinals have to face David Ortiz. These two things are apparently analogous.

When the Angels won the World Series in 2002, Washburn was their ace, and Troy Percival their closer. Barry Bonds played the role of Ortiz.

The Angels beat the San Francisco Giants, in large part because the Angels determined Bonds would not beat them.

"I don't think I would let Ortiz beat me," Percival said. "We all can see what he's doing."

In 2001, Barry Bonds had hit 73 home runs. In 2002, Bonds hit .370/.582/.799. In 44 plate appearances before the 2002 World Series, Bonds hit four homers, four singles, and 14 walks. Also, Bonds was hopped up on everything from ground rhinoceros horn to powdered Mel Ott. We're probably never going to see anything like it again.

David Ortiz is a fantastic hitter in the middle of a 20-PA stretch that's hard to fathom. He's 11-for-15 in the World Series, with four walks and two homers. He's also still David Ortiz, the dangerous-but-mortal hitter from 2013. And 2012. Also, 2011. He's the same hitter he's always been, and he shouldn't be pitched any differently than usual.

Unless Ortiz is in the zone, this weird purgatory where spectral jellyfish bring you ghost muffins and tell you exactly where the ball is going to be thrown. When you're in the zone, baseball is easy. Tim McCarvy thinks Ortiz is in the zone. He said this after one of Ortiz's hits in the World Series:

He's line-to-line locked in. He's been that way through the LCS.

Ortiz went 2 for 22 in the LCS. One of those hits was a miraculous grand slam, but it's not like he was playing possum for the other 21 at-bats. But, whatever. Pretend he really is in the zone, which is a special place. Let's look at how you pitch David Ortiz. Let's look at his 11 hits in the World Series and see where you …

Wait, three of those hits were infield hits. No, seriously, in the eighth inning of Game 2, the second inning of Game 4, and the eighth inning of Game 5, Ortiz reached on infield singles. He pretty much gets on base via the infield single in three-fifths of his regular-season games, I'm sure. Not even going to look it up.

That still leaves eight legitimate hits for Ortiz in the World Series. Can we divine a way to pitch to him after looking at those at-bats? Let's look:

Hit #1


Conclusion: Don't throw breaking balls there, especially to David Ortiz

Hit #2


Conclusion: Don't throw baseballs there, especially to David Ortiz

Hit #3


Conclusion: Yeah, everyone once in a while, David Ortiz is going to hit that pitch. What are you gonna do?

Hit #4


Conclusion: Don't throw baseballs there, especially to David Ortiz

Hit #5


Conclusion: Yeah, everyone once in a while, David Ortiz is going to hit that pitch. What are you gonna do?

Hit #6


Conclusion: Yeah, everyone once in a while, David Ortiz is going to hit that pitch. What are you gonna do?

Hit #7


Conclusion: Don't throw baseballs there, especially to David Ortiz

Hit #8


Conclusion: Don't throw baseballs there, especially to David Ortiz

So here's the secret to pitching to Ortiz right now: Avoid pitches down the middle of the plate. Especially if they're up. Note that when you do make pitches on the corners, they might still get hit, too.

I can write it down, if you want. But it's the same report from last year and the year before that. The idea that Ortiz is some unearthly, true-.750 hitter is absurd. He's the same hitter. So how do you treat him? Like David Ortiz. Which is to say, carefully. No pitches right over the middle of the plate, even to steal a first-pitch strike. Be careful, and maybe you'll get him out.

If I took screen-shots of the at-bats in the ALCS, I'm not sure they would look much different. Pitches up, pitches out, pitches in, pitches down. Ortiz was 2 for 22. Because even marvelous hitters can make outs.

Ortiz doesn't get the Barry Bonds treatment; he gets the Ortiz treatment. Bring in one of the two outstanding lefty specialists if the situation dictates. Be careful with him. Don't beat yourself up if he beats a bad pitch. And take a shot if he gets an infield hit. Same as it ever was; same as it ever was.

For more on Big Papi and the Red Sox, please visit Over The Monster.

More from Baseball Nation:

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Turns out Andrelton Simmons is good at defense

Ten more incredible World Series programs

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