Slowing down Ellsbury a known key for Sox this weekend

Slowing down Ellsbury a known key for Sox this weekend
April 9, 2014, 5:30 pm
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BOSTON - Dating back to 2007, Jacoby Ellsbury was on their side. Starting Thursday, they'll face him as an opponent for the first time when the Red Sox begin a four-game series at Yankee Stadium.
     
"Obviously, the biggest thing is keeping him off the bases," said John Farrell. "I know that's a pretty elementary response. But he can create a lot of havoc. It was fun to see him in your own uniform and as dynamic a player as he can be, he's going to benefit by the dimensions of that ballpark.
     
"But I think we've got a pretty clear understanding of what his strengths are and how we execute will be the key, trying to control him."
     
Ellsbury is a masterful basestealer, having been thrown out by catchers just twice in 52 tries last year.
     
The Sox will need to employ a number of things in order to slow him down once he reaches base.
     
"Whether it's Jacoby or any other base stealer,'' said Farrell, "there's going to be some things that we've equipped our pitchers and guys behind the plate with. The biggest thing is not being predictable. Good base stealers are going to anticipate that rhythm and timing.
     
"And more importantly, the stolen base typically happens (off) the pitcher and not the guy behind the plate. It falls on the shoulder of the starter or the reliever in the ballgame at a given time. The biggest key is to be able to balance the two and not be distracted by what you're trying to execute in terms of pitches."
     
Before last night's game with Baltimore, Ellsbury had attempted five stolen bases and was successful with four of them.
     
Look for Red Sox pitchers to throw over to first with some frequency, vary their time between pitches and give Ellsbury different looks when he's on base.