Red Sox’s Farrell: Ortiz or Napoli will have to sit in St. Louis

Red Sox’s Farrell: Ortiz or Napoli will have to sit in St. Louis

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Red Sox’s Farrell: Ortiz or Napoli will have to sit in St. Louis

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by Scott Bierman / BaseballStL

KMOV.com

Posted on October 25, 2013 at 2:30 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 24 at 10:40 PM

(BaseballStL) -- The Red Sox will have to decide which slugger, David Ortiz or Mike Napoli, to sit when the series shifts to the DH-less St. Louis Saturday.

“The one outside view might be to put Mike Napoli behind the plate, but we wouldn't do that,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “One or the other is going to sit, unfortunately.”

Ortiz is likely to start Game 3, Farrell indicated after Game 2’s loss to the Cardinals.

There’s a set of pros and cons to be made for both hitters to play.

Ortiz clubbed a home run in each of the first two games of the World Series and was also robbed of a grand slam in Game 1. He has five home runs this postseason.

Used as the everyday designated hitter, Ortiz started only six of the 137 games played this season at first base. He’s only played 32 games in the field since 2007, and has committed only one error  during that span.

But ‘Big Papi’ has 11 hits in 41 at-bats (.268) this postseason. Five of his hits came in the ALDS against the Rays.

Napoli hasn’t been any better with nine hits in 40 at-bats (.225), but he has been better with six hits in his last 19 at-bats (.316).

He’s also a more reliable fielder than Ortiz. Napoli played 131 games at first base and posted a .994 fielding percentage.

As noted, the Red Sox won’t play Napoli as a catcher although he did play the position against the Cardinals in the 2011 World Series. Also, he hasn’t caught since joining the Red Sox this season.

Farrell added in his pre-game press conference Thursday that he has been impressed with Napoli since his seventh-inning solo home run in a 1-0 win over Justin Verlander and the Tigers in Game 3 of the ALCS.

After collecting two of Boston’s four hits Thursday, Ortiz is likely to start two, if not all, of the games played in St. Louis. The go-ahead home run in the sixth inning also didn’t hurt his cause.

“It's likely that Game 3 (Ortiz) will be at first base at this point, just a quick look at it,” Farrell said after Game 2’s 4-2 loss to St. Louis. “And how we go from there, we'll go to it day-to-day. Again, we're going to lose one of the middle‑of‑the‑order bats, and that's understood going in. But still, David's in a pretty good place right now offensively.”

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Scott Bierman covers the Cardinals for KMOV.com and the BaseballStL mobile app. You can follow him on Twitter @Scott_Bierman for St. Louis sports news and notes.

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