As the Boston Red Sox prepare for Game 1 of the American League Division Series, Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez says the clubhouse lacks leadership and still misses the veteran presence of David Ortiz.
"You never replace David. David is such a leader," Martinez said in an interview with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria of WEEI on Thursday. "He knew when to pull the team together and say, 'We're not playing the best ball.' I think they're lacking that leader could pull them aside and say, 'We're not playing the kind of baseball we're used to playing.'"
Martinez specifically centers out Hanley Ramirez, who he says hasn't been as positive of an influence as he was in 2016, when Ortiz was still a member of the team.
"Hanley hasn't been that guy, Hanley is not reflecting the same energy he was showing last year. The team is different this year. Very little to rely on when it comes to being that guy," Martinez said.
Martinez's remarks come on the same day the Red Sox decided to leave Ramirez out of the starting lineup for Thursday's Game 1 against the Houston Astros, electing instead to use Eduardo Nunez and Mitch Moreland at designated hitter and first base.
After a terrific performance in 2016, Ramirez took a significant step back this year. On top of a brutal stretch in September that saw him finish the month hitting .214/.236/.371, his average dipped to a career-worst .242 across 133 regular-season games, combining to 23 home runs and only 62 RBIs while being worth minus-0.4 WAR.