The Boston Red Sox were picked by many people to finish last in the American League East in the 2013 MLB season as they were coming off of an abysmal 2012. Through 64 games, though, the Red Sox are currently atop the division, have the best record in the AL, and have the third best record in all of baseball. That’s a lesson in how to blow expectations out of the water.
Boston has enjoyed a resurgent year from their pitching staff, particularly from Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. Both pitchers struggled last season but are in the middle of nice starts to this year. They’ve also enjoyed hot starts from Dustin Pedroia, Daniel Nava, Jose Iglesias and David Ortiz. However, Jacoby Ellsbury didn’t get off to near the hot start that people expected him to.
Through May 25, Ellsbury was hitting just .245 with a .317 OBP and a .649 OPS. He had also stolen just 14 bases up to that point. However, on the May 26 against the Cleveland Indians, Ellsbury knocked in a walk-off double to wrap up a victory for the Red Sox. That seemed to have jump-started the season for Ellsbury.
Despite recently coming back into the lineup after missing five games due to a groin injury, Ellsbury went 1-4 with a triple, a run scored, a walk, and a stolen base in Sunday afternoon’s 10-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. However, that just added to what he’s done since May 25.
From May 26 until now, Ellsbury has played in eight games. In those eight games he is hitting .472 with a .512 OBP. He’s also scored eight runs, driven in five runs, had eight extra-base hits and has struck out just four times. Moreover, he has a remarkable 10 stolen bases over those eight games, including five in one game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
At the top of their lineup, Ellsbury is an important piece of the puzzle for the Red Sox to maintain their early success. He’s in a groove right now and seems to be rounding into form. With Pedroia and Ortiz swinging the bat as well as they have been, Ellsbury being on base and putting himself in scoring position with steals is a big deal for their run production. If he continues to improve as the season goes on, Boston has a good chance to continue surprising and take the division crown.