Thursday, May 30, 2013

Another Red Sox record for Jacoby Ellsbury

Tonight's game was fun to watch. Franklin Morales gave up a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning on a Delmon Young homer, but that would be the only stain on his night. Morales pitched five innings, earning himself the win, and the bullpen took things from there.

On the offensive side, Jacoby Ellsbury set a Boston Red Sox record by stealing five bases in a single game. It's somewhat surprising that such a feat, though impressive, is a record for a club that's been around as long as the Red Sox, but very rarely has speed been a major factor in assembling a roster to play at Fenway Park. Ellsbury also holds the Red Sox record for most bases stolen by a rookie (50 in 2008), and the Red Sox record for most bases stolen in a single season (70 in 2009).

It's never been a secret that Ellsbury's most reliable asset is his speed. Indeed, prior to the 2011 season, no one considered Ells a serious power threat at the plate, but he's always been respected and even feared once he reaches base. He's incredibly adept at distracting opposing pitchers, which allows anyone batting behind him the chance to see more pitches to hit, as his presence edging off of first makes them liable to make a mistake.

I'm personally of the opinion that if Ellsbury has a successful season this year, we might not be seeing him around much longer. Scott Boras is Ellsbury's agent, and he's notorious for pushing his clients to free agency and the biggest paycheck. With Ells' history of injury, it's unlikely that the Red Sox would be willing to offer the kind of contract length and value that he might command on the open market. I hope I'm wrong, and that we get to watch Ellsbury confound pitchers and catchers for years to come - but if this season is the last I intend to enjoy every last stolen base.

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