Age and injuries have limited Jacoby Ellsbury’s base-stealing ability somewhat since joining the New York Yankees in 2014. Make no mistake about it though, he still has the ability to change a game with his speed and his baserunning savvy, and that’s exactly what he did on Friday night.
In the fifth inning of New York’s 6-3 win over against the Tampa Bay Rays, Ellsbury executed what few baserunners would have the wherewithal or courage to even try by pulling off a straight steal of home plate.
The 32-year-old outfielder knows how to pick his spots. When he saw Rays left-hander Matt Moore go into the windup, he knew he had a chance because he knew that would slow Moore’s delivery to the plate. He just had to time it correctly.
A slight jump or even a slight hesitation could have allowed Moore to step off and possibly throw him out. As it was, Ellsbury timed it and executed it flawlessly.
Not that we should be surprised, because Ellsbury is no stranger to the straight steal of home. He actually pulled it off once against the Yankees as a member of the Boston Red Sox in 2009. That famously came during a Sunday Night Baseball game against another lefty, Andy Pettitte.
In pulling off Friday’s steal, Ellsbury also rewrote this footnote in Yankees history.
Good thing for Derek Jeter he still has a couple other things to hang his hat on.
As for Ellsbury’s steal, it came at a key point in the game. When he touched home, he was the tying run. Ellsbury also contributed a big two-run double in the eighth inning that sealed New York’s victory.
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