Sunday, April 26, 2009

The recipe for a steal of home

Third-base coach DeMarlo Hale could have sent Jacoby Ellsbury home on David Ortiz's fifth-inning double to left. The throw went to second base; Ellsbury would have scored easily.

Hale, though, must have known what was coming.

Once Andy Pettitte intentionally walked Kevin Youkilis to get to J.D. Drew, all the pieces of the recipe were there for the Red Sox's first straight steal of home since Billy Hatcher did it in 1994.

1. Left-handed pitcher.
If Pettitte can see Ellsbury taking his lead, Ellsbury can't go.

2. Left-handed hitter
Third baseman Angel Berroa was shifted way around toward shortstop as part of an infield alignment playing Drew to pull. He was in no position to dissuade Ellsbury from walking as far down the third-base line as he wanted.

3. Bases loaded
Pettitte has a great pick-off move to first base and a pretty quick move to the plate when he's in the stretch. But with the bases loaded, he thought he didn't have to worry about anyone going anywhere -- and thus was pitching out of the full windup.

4. A test run
Ellsbury had a couple of pitches to take a huge lead and see if Pettitte would notice him. He did; Pettitte didn't.

5. A roadrunner on third base
Jacoby Ellsbury can flat-out fly. Ellsbury can run so fast, in fact, that he stumbled diving across the plate -- he was either changing direction or switching from a slide to a dive -- and still scored easily in one of the most exciting plays any of us will ever see.


Al said...

That guy can play the game and make us all proud of him..

Joe said...

#6. Steal the idea from Aaron Hill. Go Jays.

Alan said...

Excuse me...this story was about the Sox and Jacoby Ellsbury. Go start your own Tweetybird blog.