New York Yankee Table Setters: Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner

Bronx, NY—For an organization to be successful, there is a need for each of its employees to recognize his/her role and be capable of fulfilling it. In baseball, the lead-off batter and the hitter who follows are called the table-setters. The players in those positions need to reach base often, advance as far as possible and be in a position to score if the hitters batting after them fulfill their roles as power hitters and runs batted in specialists.

This year’s lead-off hitter on the Yanks, Jacoby Ellsbury, has been extremely consistent and capable of fulfilling his responsibilities. In his 28 games, Ellsbury is one of the top ranked players in a number of offensive categories. He is batting .362. His two hits on Thursday night extended his hitting streak to 10 games. In his team high 13 multi-hit games the Yankees have an 11-2 record.

He has reached base far more often than any other member of the Yankees. In addition to his 42 hits, he has drawn 13 walks and been hit by a pitch on three occasions for an on-base-percentage of over .439. This outstanding ability to reach base has placed him near the top of the American League rankings of scoring with 24 runs scored in his 28 games.

Not only does he reach base often, but quite often manages to advance on his own. He paces the A.L. with 11 stolen bases and has only been thrown out stealing four times.

The second place hitter on the Yankees, Brett Gardner, is close to Ellsbury in these positive offensive categories. He is batting .326 with an on-base-percentage of .412. The left fielder has 29 hits, drawn 13 walks and been hit by a pitch twice.

The two 31 year-old players, born 17 days apart, scored four of the five runs of the Yankees on Friday night. They began in the first inning. Ellsbury led off with an infield single, which extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He moved to third on a double to left by Gardner. The next batter, Alex Rodriguez, drove in the first run of the contest with a deep sacrifice fly to center. Catcher Brian McCann knocked in two more runs with a home run to left. Before 20 minutes had elapsed, the Yanks led the orioles, 3-0.

Two more Yankees runs scored in the third frame on similar circumstances as in the first. Ellbury walked to begin the inning. He moved to third on a single to right by Gardner. The left fielder then stole second to put two runners in scoring position, his ninth stolen base of the season. With two out, McCann was intentionally walked to load the bases. The table setters each scored again as Carlos Beltran doubled, but the slower McCann was thrown out at home. The Yanks now lead 5-0.

The two outfielders were largely responsible for Friday’s Yankee win, and have been instrumental in the Yankees current  first place standing in the American League East.


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