Thursday, August 7, 2008
Hey Look Honey, Jacoby Ellsbury's on base
In big markets like Boston (New York, Philly, LA, Chicago, etc.), we tend to overhype and overvalue our young players in any sport, especially baseball. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that when everyone's favorite Native American Jacoby Ellsbury took the American League by storm last year, we figured that this season-his official rookie year-would be filled with about 100 steals and a .330 average. Realistic, no?
Well surprise, surprise, after a solid start to the season, Ellsbury fell into a black hole the last few months, meaning that he was dropped to ninth in the order, something that would have been unthinkable even in May. With the emergence of Evan Longoria in Tampa Bay, Ellsbury's rookie of the year trophy is currently hanging out with the Patriots unbeaten, Super Bowl champs t-shirts but that doesn't really matter. Over the last two games, Ellsbury has showed signs of being the leadoff hitter the Sox saw last season, particularly in the playoffs.
Hitting seventh last night, Jacoby had one of the best games of his short pro career as he went 3 for 5 with 2 runs, 3 RBIs and one spectacular catch.
The Red Sox (66-49) took care of business in Kansas City (53-62) after dropping the first game of the series, winning last night's finale 8-2.
No longer possessing the best 3-4 combo in baseball, Boston is relying on a more diverse attack. Pseudo leadoff man J.D. Drew was 2-for-4 with a 2 RBIs, a run and walk. Rookie Jed Lowrie hit second for the first time and delivered with a two-run double, walk and run. Jason Bay continued to chug along with two runs and two hits.
The only bad news was that Kevin Youkilis got hit on the wrist with a Luke Hochevar pitch in the first and had to leave. X-Rays were negative so I wouldn't be surprised if Youk is in the lineup tomorrow night when the Red Sox open their series in Chicago against the White Sox.
A constant victim of bad luck and little run support, Tim Wakefield (7-8) pitched six innings for the win. The knuckleballer gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits with six strikeouts.
Manny Delcarmen gave up two hits but pitched a scoreless seventh. Rookie Justin Masterson pitched a clean eighth with two strikeouts while closer Jonathan Papelbon got some work in the ninth, giving up two hits but no runs in a non-save situation.
Lowrie's double broke the scoreless tie in the fifth. David Ortiz's RBI single scored Lowrie, giving Boston a 3-0 lead.
Ross Gload's two-run single in the fifth cut the Boston lead to one but the Sox reeled off five more before it was all said and done.
Drew had a two-run single in the sixth and Ellsbury hit a three-run bomb to center off reliever Ron Mahay in the seventh, his first career homer off a lefty.
The Sox travel today and have an off-day before beginning a big four-game set with the AL Central leading White Sox.