Jacoby Ellsbury: How Can He Beat You? Let Me Count the Ways
The Boston Red Sox continued their torrid winning streak last night with a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers. The win lands the Sox a first place lead in the AL East. Still remember that 0-6 start? How are they winning? It has been easy as 1-2-3; speed, power and defense. Jacoby Ellsbury has been displaying all three attributes. Lately, Ellsbury has been showing off his inner Ricky Henderson.
The speedy center fielder is transforming himself into the most dangerous lead-off hitter in baseball. Last night Ellsbury led off the game with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on a wild pitch. The one thing opposing pitchers hate to see is Ellsbury standing at first. We all know he is going to steal second and all it does is drive the pitcher out of his mind. That is what speed does for a team. In this lineup, speed only makes them more dangerous. Ellsbury led off the top of the third with the Sox down 2-1 and ripped a Rick Porcello fast ball into the right field seats to tie the game at two all. The Sox went on to score 4 more runs that inning to take a commanding 6-2 lead. In the bottom of the sixth, Ellsbury flashed his glove work by making an inning ending diving catch off the bat of Alex Avila. There you have it; speed, power, defense, and another win.
The one knock that has hung over Ellsbury’s head in his short career was his inability to get on base. Like they say, “you can’t steal first.” With an OBP of .365 and a batting average of .299, Ellsbury is getting on base more than he ever has. And when he gets on base he makes the opposing team pay for it. His 19 steals lead the American League and his 34 runs scored puts him 4th in the category. With a new found power stroke, Ellsbury uniform should have a warning label attached to it.” “Beware, Highly Flammable, Handle with Caution.”
With Ellsbury providing the spark, Tim Wakefield won his second consecutive start. Unfortunately for Wakefield, John Lackey is almost ready to return and with Alfredo Aceves pitching lights out, Wakefield could be the odd man out once again. Unless Terry Francona alternates Aceves and Wakefield, and that is highly doubtful. It’s a shame actually, both deserve the opportunity and I would hate to see the momentum broken. especially for the lack luster Lackey.
Back to Ellsbury for a moment. The next time you are online or at the ballpark and casting your votes for All-Stars, make sure you mark off Ellsbury’s name. He deserves it. My votes go to Jose Bautista, Curtis Granderson and Ellsbury. Sorry Ichiro, time for the changing of the guard, there is a new lead-off man in baseball and his name is, Jacoby Ellsbury.
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