Replacing Jacoby Ellsbury in leadoff spot hasn't been easy for Red Sox

Rob Bradford
April 10, 2014 - 4:37 am
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The Red Sox have stated the primary goal for their leadoff men is to get on base. Plain and simple. The thinking is that you have to get on base in order score runs. It just so happened that Jacoby Ellsbury -- the guy who used to lead off for the Red Sox and now plays for the Yankees -- did both of those things, along with stealing a bunch of bases. Well, thus far this season, the Red Sox' replacements for Ellsbury at the top of the order haven't gotten on base a whole bunch, have scored just four runs, and haven't even attempted a stolen base. Daniel Nava has hit in the top spot a team-high five times, going 3-for-20 with a walk and two runs. Jonny Gomes has hit in the leadoff spot in three games, managing two hits in nine at-bats with three walks and one run scored. Grady Sizemore has gotten the chance to lead off once, going 0-for-4 with a walk while scoring a run. Red Sox leadoff hitters carry the third-worst OPS (.539) in the majors, hitting a combined .176. On the bright side, they are seeing the third-most pitches per plate appearance of any group of leadoff men in the game (4.38). So, what has Ellsbury meant to his new team? The center fielder has been moved to the third spot in the batting order, with Brett Gardner sliding up. But in his four games leading off, Ellsbury went 6-for-16 (.375) with three walks, three runs and three steals. Gardner has been almost as good in his five games leading off, hitting .300 (6-for-20) with three walks and two runs while seeing 4.39 pitches per plate appearance. What to do? Your thoughts ... [poll id=81]

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