David Ortiz is in the midst of a career renaissance. His prodigious power is back. His performance in the Home Run Derby is the precursor to a monster second half, an MVP run and a miraculous World Series title for the Red Sox.
OK, we're overstating things a bit. And while Ortiz has rebounded nicely after a dreadful start, it's highly unlikely any of the aforementioned premonitions occur. Ortiz (.263, 18 HR, 57 RBI) has bounced back in a big way, but there are underlying currents that suggest the bottom is about to fall out for him and the Red Sox.
Big Papi has played well for exactly one month this season (May). His June power numbers (6 HR, 22 RBI) were excellent but his batting average (.238) was not. He's hitting .192 with one home run against left-handers this season, making his 2009 numbers against southpaws (.212, 6 HR, 29 RBI) appear downright Ruthian.
This isn't nit picking; it's good data. We're not suggesting Ortiz will bomb in the second half -- ala past Home Run Derby legends Bobby Abreu and Josh Hamilton -- we're simply saying his comeback story is a bit ... inflated.
Boston would be dead without Ortiz, who -- along with Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Beltre -- has carried a depleted offense to within striking distance in the AL East. But unless the Red Sox get healthy -- and fast -- the injuries and inconsistency will catch up to them and their star slugger.