The Boston Red Sox ended the Los Angeles Dodgers four-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory on Saturday. Just beating the Dodgers is an impressive feat these days, but this one for Boston was made even more impressive due to the fact center field Jacoby Ellsbury had perhaps his least productive game of the season.
That was my kind way of saying it was dreadful. Not only did Ellsbury finish the afternoon affair 0 for 5 at the plate with a strikeout, he also hit into a double play that can only be categorized as embarrassing.
It happened in the ninth with Boston clinging to their 4-2 lead — they led 4-0 after the first inning. With one out and a runner on first, Ellsbury hit a two-hopper to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez that carried his momentum perfectly towards second. Gonzalez fielded it cleanly and fired to shortstop Hanley Ramirez to get the lead runner and the second out. For whatever reason, Ellsbury actually thought it was the third out, so rather than running through first base he tailed off and headed toward the dugout.
For a moment, everybody on the Dodgers seemed to be unaware of Ellsbury's mistake, but by the time his Red Sox teammates were able to get his attention, Hanley Ramirez had raced over all the way across the diamond with the baseball and applied the tag right outside of Boston dugout.
Now you can grab your glove, Jacoby. That's three.
Of course Ellsbury was asked about the mental lapse in the clubhouse following the game, and I have to say I found his response to be interesting.
Did Ellsbury lose track of the outs?
"For a split second," Ellsbury said. "Either way, I thought I was good. I just turned and peeled off and started walking back and saw Hanley run at me. I still thought I had the base."
That had to be the longest split second ever. I think it lasted at least six seconds, and probably would have been longer if the bench wasn't desperately yelling and pointing.
But hey, you can't play the game for seven years like Ellsbury and not expect to have at least one mental gaffe. It's unavoidable. However, when you're lucky enough to time it so that it doesn't cost your team in any way, I would say it's probably best to acknowledge and accept the mistake, laugh at it and move on.
Oh, and then make sure it never happens again.