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New York Yankees: was Jacoby Ellsbury’s Spot in Lineup Causing His Slump?

May 21st, 2014 at 7:57 PM
By Michael Moraitis

Jacoby Ellsbury finally broke out of his slump on Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs with two hits in the New York Yankees' win, but what has been wrong with the outfielder lately?

Ellsbury went 2-for-6 in the winning effort, although he didn't drive in any runs from the three hole. Before the afternoon game versus the Cubs, Ellsbury was 1-for-22 in his last seven games and saw his average drop from .346 on May 3 to .269 on May 20.

What has been the trend during that stretch?

The fact that Ellsbury has been batting third may have something to do with his struggles. Since Carlos Beltran has been out of the lineup, Ellsbury has been hitting No. 3 in the Yanks' lineup instead of his customary leadoff, which is where he started the season.

When leading off, Ellsbury was batting .302 in 86 at-bats. When batting third, Ellsbury's numbers are far more inferior as he posts a .231 average. In 21 more at-bats in the leadoff spot, Ellsbury has 10 RBI as compared to four RBI batting third.

Clearly Ellsbury does a better job in the role of table-setter in all aspects as opposed to being in a more run-producing spot in the batting order. It could quite possibly be that Ellsbury is putting too much pressure on himself to drive in runs and he's trying to do too much when he's at the plate to make up for the guys he's replacing.

Normally the 30-year-old is smarter than that and would know to stay within himself, but the combination of a new role with a new team could have Ellsbury pressing. Hopefully for New York, their new center fielder is snapping out of it after his two-hit day and will only bring his average up from here.

The Yanks could certainly use him because their offense is struggling as a whole and they're a much improved team when he's getting on base and causing havoc. It appears manager Joe Girardi is going to stick it out with Ellsbury batting third, so he has no choice but to snap out of it because he isn't moving down in the order anytime soon.


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Tags: Baseball, Carlos Beltran, Chicago Cubs, Jacoby Ellsbury, Joe Girardi, MLB, New York, New York Yankees

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