BOSTON -- When Jacoby Ellsbury hit a three-run home run in Minnesota’s Target Field on Sunday, it was his fifth home run of the season, third since June 1. Not exactly what the Yankees were envisioning when they signed him to a seven-year, $153 million deal as a free agent last winter.
But this isn’t about Ellsbury’s power, or lack of same. This is about the Red Sox outfield. Since June 1, Sox outfielders have two home runs (one by Mookie Betts, one by Brock Holt), which is one fewer than Ellsbury in the same span.
The Sox outfield is tied with the Washington Nationals for fewest home runs in the majors this season with 12. There are 20 players with 12 or more home runs this season, led by Baltimore’s Nelson Cruz with 27. Jonny Gomes leads Sox outfielders this season with five home runs.
Last season, the Sox outfield ranked 22nd in the majors with 52 home runs, led by Shane Victorino with 15.
The club record for home runs by an outfield is 98, set in 1970, when the Conigliaro brothers, Tony and Billy, flanked Reggie Smith, and Carl Yastrzemski divided his time between first base and the outfield. Yaz hit 40 home runs that season, Tony C. 36.
The Sox outfield is on a pace to hit 22 this season, which would be the team’s fewest in at least 101 seasons, according to baseball-reference.com, whose research goes back to 1914. It would match the 1979 Astros for the fewest home runs in a full season in that span.