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Jacoby Ellsbury and 0-2 counts

Posted by Adam Kilgore, Globe Staff  September 19, 2009 12:09 PM

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Like any batter, Jacoby Ellsbury prefers hitting while ahead in the count. 的 probably think I知 a better hitter when I知 up in the count in general, he said. But he would be wrong.

There痴 something strange going on with Ellsbury this season. During at-bats in which he faces an 0-2 count at some point, Ellsbury is batting .327, astonishing even to him and the highest mark in the major leagues. Ichiro is second at .316. The league average is .178.

(Again, for clarity, these figures are during at-bats in which the count is 0-2 at some point. So if Ellsbury singles on an 0-2 pitch, that counts toward the stat. If the count is 0-2, he fouls off a pitch, takes two balls, and then doubles, that counts, too.)

(His success after 0-2 counts surprised him, and he didn稚 really have an idea what to make of it. He didn稚 know why, either.

的 have no idea, Ellsbury said before yesterday痴 game. 的 don稚 know. That痴 an interesting. I never would have thought. I don稚 know what it is.

Ellsbury paused, trying to come up with an explanation. Surely, his speed helps. When Ellsbury squibs or dribbles a tough pitch, the kind pitchers throw ahead in the count, the soft contact may help him reach base.

典here are a lot of different ways I can get a hit, he said. 溺aybe that has something to do with it. But, yeah, that痴 interesting.

It痴 even more baffling given what he痴 done after getting ahead in the count. He is 1 for 11 (.091) after getting ahead 3-0 and 8 for 33 (.242) after getting ahead .242. Ellsbury doesn稚 change his swing or stance with two strikes.

的 try to stay almost the same, Ellsbury said. 的 don稚 really try to do too much different than Ellsbury lost his train of thought and chuckled 鍍hat痴 interesting.

He does change his approach slightly. He becomes more of a free swinger, trying to stay alive in the at-bat.

的壇 much rather put a ball weakly in play than strike out looking, Ellsbury said. 典hat痴 my approach with two strikes. Foul off the close ones, even if they池e balls, and hopefully I can pitch that痴 over the plate that I can hit hard.

Ellsbury hit a home run Thursday night on an 0-2 pitch; he痴 also batting .304 only when the count is 0-2, which is eighth in the majors. (Incredibly, Marco Scutaro is .364 on 0-2 pitches.) Ellsbury has a .771 OPS after facing an 0-2 count, third best in the majors.

鉄o maybe I should get into 0-2 counts, Ellsbury said, laughing while he mimed his stance and looked at pretend pitches. 笛ust stand there. Strike. Strike.

(Bonus 0-2 count fun: Jason Bay leads the American League in drawing walks after facing an 0-2 count. He has nine. The major league lead is13.)

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