It's not terrible to be a part of Red Sox Nation these days. Your team's offense has some serious firepower - Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury are highly productive, Jason Bay is absolutely murdering the ball, and even Mike Lowell is experiencing a bit of a resurgence and could put up a 25-homer season at his current pace.
Sure, the rotation has struggled some, but there's plenty of talent waiting in the wings and the bullpen is...well, to put it corny, a Green Monster. But that's not the problem.
Something is still missing from the mixture. A certain Latin flavor that gives the team... ah yes! That David Ortiz guy. The man who averaged 42 home runs from 2003-07 - along with an absurd .961 OPS in the worst of those years - is now 130 at-bats into a homer-less season and has only ten in 336 at-bats since returning from injury last season.
I can hear Red Sox fans now...
"But he's still walking, that's a good sign, right?" The fact that Ortiz is still drawing walks is a positive, yes, in that his downfall can't really be attributed to some massive problem like his plate approach just completely eroding. I don't think his regression has ever been about his plate discipline, though.
Ortiz's calling card has always been that, yes, he has what are called "old player" skills (lots of power, little speed or defensive agility), but he has incredibly quick wrists for such a big guy.
That fact is borne out (to use a small example) in the fact that he hit 38 home runs in '07 and '08 in AL East ballparks, and 28 of those were pull shots down the line in right. He may be a big guy, but he's powerful, so if you try to beat him with any kind of inside fastball he'll make you pay - along with the usual killing of any meatballs that get hung out to dry over the middle.