Jacoby Ellsbury was brought to the Bronx in the off-season to be a difference maker. For much of the 2014 season, it looked like the center fielder would not live up to the massive contract the Yankees had to offer to pry him from the rival Red Sox.
It seems that things might be turning around for the $153 million dollar man. Since the All-Star break, Ellsbury has looked like the catalyst the Yankees were expecting. In five games since the break, he is 10-for-21, with two home runs and five RBI. He has stolen two bases in that span. What might be the most important part of that, is all five games have been played in the Bronx. It’s no secret that the Yankees have been lousy (22-24) at home this year. Yankee Stadium was supposed to be a place the left-handed hitting Ellsbury would thrive. His six homers prior to the Midsummer Classic, did not back up that theory. After going 2-for-5 on Tuesday, he is now hitting .293, the highest average among Yankee regulars. Sounds like the guy Brian Cashman thought he was getting in the offseason.
Even with Ellsbury’s hot steak, Cashman’s free agent signings have not paid returns so far this season. There is still time to change that. After acquiring Brandon McCarthy, and Tuesday’s hero, Chase Headley, Cashman said more moves are on the way. When asked about the possibility of more acquisitions, Cashman told Jorge Castillo of the Star Ledger,
“I have more work to do..I’m going to still continue to try to improve on what we have. I feel like I’ve got more work to do.”
The Yankees have looked better since coming back from the break, but its only been five games (4-1). They play their next five in the Bronx. If they can keep winning and make this a great home stand, it will set the tone for the second half.
Ellsbury seems to be setting the tone for his second half. He’s going to need some help though. As dynamic a player as he is, he isn’t going to single-handedly carry this team to the playoffs. Yes, he is doing his part, but it’s time for the rest of the guys to follow suit. Hopefully that old saying: “hitting is contagious” holds water for the 2014 New York Yankees.