Jacoby Ellsbury reached base in five of his six plate appearances last night and wreaked havoc on the Phillies once he was there, setting a Red Sox record with five steals.
Ellsbury stole all five off catcher Erik Kratz, who came into the game having thrown out 40 percent of steal attempts during his career. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said afterward that much of the blame was on the Phillies’ pitchers for letting Ellsbury “get a walking lead.”
Not only did Ellsbury set the Red Sox record for steals in a game, he became just the 20th player since 1970 to swipe five or more bases in a game. No one had done it since Carl Crawford and Dexter Fowler in 2009 and Ellsbury is just the fifth player to do it in the past decade. Baseball-Reference.com’s indispensable “Play Index” has the full list, which includes Alex Cole and Eric Young doing it twice each.
Ellsbury, who led the league in steals in 2008 and 2009, has swiped 21 bags in 54 games while being caught just twice.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.