BOSTON -- David Ortiz held his hands up, as if to the heavens, wondering about the cold weather and his cool bat.
"Man, Mother Nature, what's going on?" Ortiz said after Wednesday night's game between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays was postponed because of inclement weather.With rain in the forecast, the game was postponed about three hours before its scheduled start and rescheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader Thursday. Tampa Bay planned to send Chris Archer (2-1) to the mound in the opener against Jake Peavy (1-0). In the nightcap, the Rays are slated to use Cesar Ramos (1-1) against Felix Doubront (1-3).Like the weather, Ortiz has yet to heat up this season. He is hitting just .250, well below his .309 mark last season and his .286 career batting average. He has five home runs and 14 RBIs in 25 games."I hit a ball last night that (made me) want to cry, it was so cold," he said. "You don't want to use the weather as an excuse, but it is an excuse because you definitely don't play the same way when it's 70, 80 degrees."His team mirrors his production. Last season's World Series champions are 13-14, 2 1/2 games behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees."It could be worse," Ortiz said. "If you look at this division, everybody's pretty much in the same boat. ... April is always a tough month. You've got to deal with a lot of things. You've got to deal with the new faces, the weather."You've got to deal with new players coming from other leagues," he said. "So I always call April the month of adjustments that you've got to do to continue to be successful through the year."Rightfielder Shane Victorino, who began the season on the disabled list after straining his right hamstring in the last spring training game, was activated Thursday.Third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who had been on the DL since April 5 with a right calf strain, was activated the following day, giving manager John Farrell his full projected lineup for the first time this year."Moving in the right direction, finishing off the month in a positive way," Farrell said. "More consistent offensive approach. We've gone through a number of challenges both performance-wise and with health that kept us from being full strength for most of the month. While the win-loss record is less than we had hoped for, we're moving in the right direction.Victorino entered Tuesday's game against the Rays at 2 for 15 with five strikeouts in his first three games. On Tuesday, he went 4 for 4 with a double and two RBIs.Since getting Victorino and Middlebrooks back, the Red Sox are 3-1 against AL East foes Toronto and Tampa Bay."Our view in our division is in line with what we thought this offseason that it was going to be: good teams that are going to beat up on one another, bunched up," Farrell said.Farrell is seeking consistency from his starters, who are eighth in the AL with a 4.23 ERA.Ortiz isn't satisfied with the team's performance but sees reason for optimism."We've still got five months left," he said.
Chris Archer is throwing his slider 33 percent of the time this season, fourth-most among right-handed starters entering Monday. As a team the Red Sox rank 29th in baseball with a .124 average against sliders from righties and have no home runs in 113 such at-bats.