Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Game 22: Jacoby Ellsbury, Superhero

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 7, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 6

These come from behind victories have got to be getting frustrating for our string of vaunted (and now vanquished) foes: the Sox are now the proud owners of ten come from behind victories, posing the team's hitting as a serious bullpen threat: when a lead of five runs isn't safe, what is? Pleasantly enough, it's not just Manny or Big Papi who's providing the run-scoring spark for these end-game thrillers, either: congratulations to Jacoby Ellsbury on his first ever multi-homer game, and for channeling the spirit of Dave Roberts with some bunt single, distract the reliever, score from first on a double magic.

You may have heard that Ellsbury has some holes in his strike zone that more adept teams have exploited this year - they're most likely the reason why Ellsbury has had a bit of a slow start this month, and would be the biggest hurdle he needs to overcome to meet expectations after his incredible post-season success. The Boston Globe has an in-depth scouting report on Ellsbury from Inside Edge that shows the holes very clearly: pitch him inside middle in or high and outside and his average drops to .267 or lower.

The point of these stats: either Ellsbury's made some adjustments, or Jared Weaver and four guys from Texas aren't hitting the right spots, because Jacoby has nine hits in the past five games. Both of last night's home runs were in strike zone sweet spots, reinforcing the bad placement theory, but I have my hopes that Ellsbury will start to make pitchers pay for leaving balls up and away by tagging them into left field.