Twitter Q&A: Ellsbury right choice to lead off?

Twitter Q&A: Ellsbury right choice to lead off?
May 13, 2013, 4:00 pm
Share This Post


No, from what I understand the Sox were hoping to use it as an actual off-day before they start their three-city, nine-game road trip, the longest of the first half. But the players will be reporting to Fenway by early afternoon for the flight to Tampa Bay.

His numbers are down so far this season, especially when compared to his MVP-caliber 2011. In his last 10 games, in which the Sox have gone 2-8, he has gone 9-for-45, batting just .200, with a double, a triple, one RBI, two runs scored, and a stolen base. In that time his average has fallen from .286 to .257 while his on-base percentage has dropped from .338 to .311.  But, Ellsbury is a prototypical lead-off hitter. When he gets on base, he can make things happen with his speed  and his potential for that can affect the opponent.  He leads the majors with four triples and is tied for the major league lead with 12 stolen bases (getting caught twice).  But, yes, I’m sure the Sox would like to see him return to his 2011 form.

I think right now the closer situation is a bigger concern. Except that since Joel Hanrahan went on the disabled list on May 7 and Junichi Tazawa became the de facto closer, the Sox have not had a save situation. The only pressure situation they’ve had – with the score tied in the ninth on Saturday – Tazawa entered and gave up a go-ahead home run to the first batter he faced.  Andrew Bailey is scheduled to throw from a mound on Tuesday for the first time since he went on the DL on April 29. That will be another step in his return, which is still unknown.  As far as the back of the rotation – Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront, and John Lackey – the only one who has been a puzzle is Doubront. His velocity is down, he can’t seem to put away hitters even when he gets ahead, and the Sox don’t seem to have answers for what is ailing him. John Lackey has pitched better than probably most would have thought up to this point. He took the loss on Thursday when his own error allowed four unearned runs.  And, yes, Dempster pitched a stinker on Sunday – he matched his career high with three home runs allowed, and gave up six runs in five innngs – but he pitched into the eighth inning in his previous outing, when the Sox scored no runs while he was in the game and committed two errors that led to two runs.

Actually the numbers have changed a lot. Take a look at the story I did earlier today outlining some of the differences. As manager John Farrell said yesterday: 
“As much as we cashed in in the month of April, maybe cliché, but things are evening out.” The translation: they’re probably about where they’re supposed to be right now, they just took an unorthodox route to get there.

The short answer – possibly at some point this season. But Brentz, who was the Sox first-round (36th overall) pick in 2010, is not yet on the 40-man roster, so the Sox would have to make some moves to get him on.  He would have been invited to major league camp in spring training until he accidentally shot himself in the left leg in January. He has been performing well with Triple-A Pawtucket, batting .260 with six home runs, 23 RBI, a .321 on-base percentage, and a .496 slugging percentage. He has three home runs in his last 10 games,  and was tied for the team lead with five home runs and 18 RBI in April.