Tuesday, October 13, 2015
THE GREAT ELLSBURY DEBATE
A week ago the Yankees faced off with the Houston Astros in a one loss elimination Wild Card game. We lost in a shut-out. It was embarrassing, and Yankees fans were angry. Particularly with Joe Girardi and his decision to sit Jacoby Ellsbury. To many, sitting Ellsbury was our undoing, but I think that Joe made the right choice in sitting Ellsbury. Let me explain.
Ellsbury started the 2015 season strong. With the $153 million contract, Yankees fans were extremely grateful for that. He hit .328 in May. But then he spent the entire month of June on the disabled list. Let's be honest for a moment, he was not the same player in the second half as he was in the first. In September, Ellsbury hit .217 with 23 hits, and 3 RBI's in 106 at bats. Andrew Marchand of ESPN went so far as to call Ellsbury the Yankees LEAST valuable player this season. In a situation where the season is on the line, you go with the hitters that are more likely to score a run.
Ellsbury had not been very successful against left-handed pitchers this season. Chris Young had more success against lefties. And so the question is do you put in Ellsbury who is 15 for 154, hitting .254 against left-handers and .143 over the last 7 games, or do you put in Young who is 31 for 153, hitting .327 against left-handers and .444 over the last 7? At the end of the day, whether you think that Joe needs to stop relying on the binder or not, it truly is a numbers game. Which hitter is more likely to score against a lefty?
It's easy to sit and be angry with Joe. But he made the logical choice. Had he put Ellsbury in and sat Young there was no guarantee that the outcome would have been different. And if we would have lost with him in the line-up, the questions would have been why play Ellsbury knowing he hadn't been playing as well in the second half, and he isn't very successful against lefties. For Joe, it is a double-edged sword.
Let's consider this before we start to prosecute Joe: You cannot win games if you do not score runs, and in that game against the Astros, we were shut out. It's really simple, and an all too familiar theme during this season. Sure, there were many games where we scored well into the double digits. But the 75 games we lost were perfect examples of our hot/cold bats. As a team, they hit .251.
I know I'll get the people who think I'm crazy. Joe obviously messed up. He should've gone with his gut. Yea, I've heard all of it. The simple fact is that Young was the logical choice for that game. His record against lefties spoke for itself, and it outshined Ellsbury. Bottom line is the Yankees have bigger issues to address then whether or not Ellsbury should be played in those situations. The stats speak for themselves, and out bats need a lot of work. Those high scoring games can be fun to watch, but when you get shut out the next two games, there really needs to be some questions asked, and retooling done.
--Erica Morales BYB Senior Writer
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