Were it not for Slade Heathcott's incredible timing, the big talking point from last night's 9th inning would have been Jacoby Ellsbury and his potentially back-breaking GIDP. On the first pitch from Brad Boxberger after Dustin Ackley singled to start the inning, Ellsbury rolled a grounder over to the first baseman to start a double play and clear the bases. After a night of precious few offensive chances, Ellsbury took what looked like the last good one the Yankees would get and flushed it. If you haven't been playing close enough attention, Ellsbury has been doing a lot of that lately. He's slumping about as badly as anybody on the team has at any point this season, and it climaxed with that GIDP in the 9th. Ellsbury wakes up this morning with a .254/.315/.354 batting line that is, quite simply, pathetic. That .660 OPS is almost 30 points below Didi Gregorius' season line and a mere 3 ahead of everyone's favorite Twitter punching bag Stephen Drew. Among the 30 players who qualify as center fielders on FanGraphs and have at least 400 plate appearances this season, Ellsbury's .293 wOBA and 83 wRC+ rank 23rd.
And it gets worse than that. Consider:
- Ellsbury is 0-18 in his last 4 games.
- He's 1-27 in his last 6 games.
- He's hitting .104/.140/.104 in 50 PA this month.
- He's hitting .208/.253/.314 in 171 PA since August 1st
- He's hitting .210/.251/.328 in 258 PA since coming off the DL on July 8th
And he's just 4-7 in stolen base attempts and has a 4.7% BB rate in that same time. There's nothing that he's doing well as a leadoff hitter and yet for some reason he's still hitting leadoff every day. Remember that this is year 2 of a 7-year deal and Ellsbury just turned 32 last Friday. This isn't a case of a guy clearly being over the physical hill like Carlos Beltran. Ellsbury is still technically in his prime. That's a scary thought when you imagine what the next 5 years could be like at this pace.
To be fair, perhaps Ellsbury is playing more hurt than he's letting on. He did miss a significant chunk of time with a knee injury earlier in the season, and the poor production along with the lack of steal attempts suggests that the knee might not be 100%. Still, there are other players playing hurt right now and they're finding ways to be productive. If Ellsbury is healthy enough to be in the lineup every day, he's healthy enough to get held to the same standards and right now he isn't even coming close to meeting those standards. He straight up stinks right now and he needs to start turning that around tonight.