Results tagged ‘ Jacoby Ellsbury ’

Full Circle with the lineup

Why is tonight’s Red Sox starting lineup — Ellsbury-Pedroia-Youkilis-Ortiz-Bay-Drew-Lowell-Varitek-Lowrie — significant?

The obvious answer is that it marks the return of Jacoby to the leadoff spot, where he has been slotted just once sinceMay 31.

But the true answer is that this is just the third time all season — and first since the third game of the season on April 9 — that the Sox have had this combination of nine players in the lineup.

Obviously the Lowrie injury is the big reason why. But the order is also similar. It’s almost as if Tito has come full circle.

Only differences between today and Opening Day? Ortiz (third on Opening Day) and Youkilis are flip-flopped, as are Drew (fifth on Opening Day) and Bay.

The Red Sox obviously need to get a spark offensively, where they have struggled to have consistency of late.

Frankie singing Sweet Music

A different kind of Sunday morning in the Red Sox clubhouse today, as Frank Sinatra’s legendary voice replaced the usual mix of country, rap and hip hop. Good stuff, though some players — particularly Kevin Youkilis — seemed perplexed by the choice.

In actual baseball news, not a whole lot going on. Jacoby Ellsbury, who likely didn’t eat much beyond soup and jello this weekend in his rehab from intestinal turmoil, is back in the lineup, batting sixth.

What happened to him?

“I don’t know, but I felt terrible — absolutely terrible,” said Ellsbury. “But I feel better today.”

In lineup news, Kevin Youkilis moved over to third for the day, as Mark Kotsay — the brains behind the Sinatra selection — got the start at first. Mike Lowell and Jed Lowrie got the day off, but you could see one or both off the bench.

Roy Halladay liftime against the Red Sox: 12-12, 4.46 ERA. How is that possible? Don’t all of you feel like we’ve watched this guy throw a ton of gems against Boston?

If you aren’t already, follow me over on Twitter. http://twitter.com/IanMBrowne

Jacoby from all angles

Getting a couple of days off, ladies and gentleman, which is why there has been no thread since Friday.

At any rate, I did work on an extensive piece on Jacoby Ellsbury that ran on the website last night, looking at this unique player from a variety of angles, looking at his past and examining his future. Here it is.

Looking for spark, Tito switches lineup

With the Red Sox doing close to nothing offensively in the five games that preceded Sunday’s finale in Toronto, manager Terry Francona switched around the lineup to try to change the results.

Dustin Pedroia was moved to leadoff. Jacoby Ellsbury moved to eighth. And for the first time in his Red Sox career, J.D. Drew batted second. This, with lefty Ricky Romero on the mound for Toronto.

Youkilis is hitting third, with Jason Bay in the cleanup spot, followed by Mike Lowell, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Ellsbury and Nick Green. Lugo is on the bench again, with Tito feeling that Green’s range is necessary with Lester pitching on turf.

And for all of you Tweeters out there — or Twitterers — or whatever you want to call it — I am now a member. Check me out at IanMBrowne.

Ellsbury makes history

While all the buzz at Fenway Park was over David Ortiz ending his home run drought — not to mention the Red Sox belting four homers in that same bottom of the fifth inning — center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury set a club record for an outfielder with 11 putouts and then tied a Major League record by collecting putout No. 12 on the final out of the game.

In the sixth inning, the speedster recorded his 11th putout of the night. Four Red Sox outfielders had made 10 putouts in a game. Who held that record previously? Ted Williams on Sept. 4, 1948, Tommy Umphlett on Aug. 16, 1953, Fred Lynn on June 4, 1978 and Lee Tinsley on Aug. 14, 1995.

Ellsbury made several fine running catches at the wall, helping along Brad Penny, who turned in his best performance in a Red Sox uniform.

The 12 putouts tied Earl Clark of the Boston Braves (May 10, 1929) and the Twins’ Lymon Bostock (May 25, 1977) against the Red Sox

“Good thing he stretched,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “He had a lot going on.”

“I got off to a busy start. What was the total?” Ellsbury asked.

He was told it was 12.

“It didn’t seem like that many,” Ellsbury said. “Just got quite a few from the get-go. Brad was getting a lot of flyball action and I was tracking them down.”

Drew leading off; Youk, Ellsbury not playing

Definitely a different Red Sox lineup tonight as they open a five-game homestand at Fenway. J.D. Drew is leading off, Jason Varitek hitting sixth, Jeff Bailey batting seventh, Jonathan Van Every eighth and Nick Green ninth.

Jacoby Ellsbury, who injured his right hamstring last night, should return to the mix tomorrow night. Manager Terry Francona seemed a little more iffy on when Kevin Youkilis might be back.

Rocco Baldelli is here at Fenway, but won’t be activated tonight. He was scheduled to have today off. There will be a decision on Rocco tomorrow.

Jed Lowrie was back with the team today for the first time since his surgery. His rehab is right on schedule. He should start swinging a bat in early June.

The team is in the process of deciding where Dice-K’s next rehab start will be. The choice is either for Pawtucket at Columbus, or home for Portland. If I was in Matsuzaka’s shoes, I’d beg for Portland so I could have the best lobster imaginable.

John Smoltz re-started his throwing program on the Fenway lawn, playing catch at a distance of 60 feet.

All for now.

J.D. and his balky back

At the time of year when most players inevitably proclaim to be in “the best shape of my life”, Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew was candid today about the fact that his back — that limited him through August and September last year — is still problematic.

Drew said that he is fine to play right now, but admits that it’s unpredictable when it might lock up.

“I’m not concerned that I won’t be at full capacity to play,” Drew said. “Like I said,
if we had to go out there and play a game today, I could do that. That wouldn’t
be a problem. That being said, I have battled with this the entire offseason as
far as stiffness goes. Not really mobility as much. You wake up stiff, you move
around, you do a few things, sit down for a while, you get stiff. Able to get
up and move around and swing the bat, stuff like that I can do no problem right
now. The one major thing is when it locks up, that’s when it causes the main
problem.”

Other than that, the talk of camp today was how Jacoby Ellsbury looked more muscular and how David Ortiz looked trimmer. Big Papi will do his first media briefing of the spring on Monday.

Camp is getting full

Monday is the official reporting date for position players, but almost everyone had rolled in by this morning. The MVP — Dustin Pedroia – headlined today’s newcomers, which also included David Ortiz and a noticeably stronger Jacoby Ellsbury. Word is that Julio Lugo arrived right after media access was closed for the morning.

That leaves Mike Lowell and Jason Bay as the only members of the starting nine who haven’t been spotted on the premises.

Pedroia is clearly hungry to erase the sour taste of Game 7 at The Trop:

One
game away from the World Series. If that doesn’t motivate you, you need to pick
a new profession. I think everybody is motivated this year,” Pedroia said.

Ellsbury hung out with Pedroia a lot this winter at the Athletes Perfomance Institute in Tempe, Ariz.

“A
lot of guys have had success training over there and I wanted to go down there,” said Ellsbury.
“Me being up in Oregon, you get the good weather down there, that’s a big part
of it. Do some baseball stuff, hit on the field, throw, be around a lot of big
league guys and that was fun. it was a good atmosphere to be in.”

As for Jacoby’s improved physique?

“The
biggest thing I would say is just to be out there every single day, knowing that
the team can count on me to be healthy,” Ellsbury said. “You obviously can’t prepare for some
things, but I just prepare my body to be out there every single day and help
team.

The ace — No. 19 Josh Beckett — is expected to hold his first media briefing after the workout.

And The Envelopes, Please

I must admit, I’m a sucker for awards, be it the Oscars or whatever.

This is baseball awards season, beginning in less than an hour. Red Sox players are involved in some of these races.

Here is a quick look at the AL awards. I simply don’t have time to follow the NL enough to make worthy selections.

AL Rookie of the Year, to be announced Monday: My prediction: Evan Longoria. Imagine if this guy had played the full year? His production numbers were impressive and of course he got even more impressive in the postseason, but that doesn’t count.

Other worthy selections. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox; Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox. Ellsbury had an up and down year offensively but still stole 50 bases and just missed 100 runs.

AL Manager of the Year, to be announced Wednesday: Joe Maddon, Rays. I think jovial Joe wrapped this thing up somewhere around July 4. What a great job. Not enough can be said.

Other worthy selections: Though Maddon by far guided the most dramatic turnaround of any team, some other managers did a very nice job this season. Look at Ron Gardenhire, for instance. When Johan Santana was traded, everyone just assumed the Twins would be non-contenders. Think again. They lasted all the way to a one-game playoff. The guy here in Boston did a pretty nice job in his own right. Terry Francona had injuries to major players at virtually every point in the season. But he found a way to keep his team focused and into the playoffs for the fourth time in his five years as manager. Don’t forget Mike Scioscia. He got 100 wins out of the Angels and they were a juggernaut until the playoffs. But again, the playoffs don’t count in these votes.

AL Cy Young: Cliff Lee, Indians. This one is about as suspenseful as the Maddon choice for manager. Lee completely dominated from start to finish.

Other worthy selections: Roy Halladay. A complete-game machine! This guy is the definition of a throwback. Mike Mussina, Francisco Rodriguez and Jon Lester also belong in the conversation.

AL MVP: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox. Perhaps you have to be around this guy every day to see just how much he means to his team. Pedroia topped the league, or was near the top, in several major categories, including runs, hits, doubles and batting average. Oh, and he was also a Gold Glove second baseman who hit for power for a little guy — 18 homers — and stole 20 bases.

Other worthy selections: Justin Morneau, Twins. A .300 average and 129 RBIs should get you MVP consideration every year, particularly on a team that didn’t have a lot of other sluggers in the lineup. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox. If not for Pedroia, he would have gotten a ton more discussion in this debate. Manny was traded, Ortiz wasn’t himself, Lowell was hurt and there was Youk, belting 29 homers and driving in 115. Oh, he also hit .312 and played tremendous defense. Josh Hamilton was the best player for a non-contender, but I just don’t think that can win you an MVP.

Bay Watch — looking good so far

Jason Bay nervous in his first playoff game? Perhaps not. The left fielder absolutely obliterated an ill-placed heater by Lackey, launching it over the wall in left.

1-0 Angels is now 2-1 Sox. That was Bay and the Sox’s answer to Manny Ramirez‘s ridiculous golf shot at Wrigley earlier today.

Jon Lester competed his butt off tonight — 117 pitches worth. Anyone who thought this guy had the composure to pitch a Game 1 was absolutely right. If not for that Lowrie error, he’d have been unscored on.

And I loved the move by Tito of bringing in Masterson to start the eighth. As he’s done since coming up, Masterson came through. He got some help from Ellsbury (great catch) and Youkilis (nice throw).

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 85 other followers