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Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Ellsbury has been hard to catch

By Gordon Edes

BOSTON -- Red Sox leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury came into Tuesday night’s game having gone 36 straight games without a caught stealing. He has stolen 10 bases in that stretch, which began June 13 in Baltimore, when he was thrown out by Matt Wieters of the Orioles in the seventh inning, then stole second in the 10th.

Ellsbury has 39 stolen bases in 42 attempts, a 92.9 percent success rate. The last player to steal at least that many bases at a higher success rate was Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who stole 47 bases in 2008 while being caught just three times, a 94 percent success rate.

At his current pace, Ellsbury would finish with 59 stolen bases while being caught just five times. No player since caught-stealing records have been kept has ever stolen 59 or more bases while being caught five or fewer times. Willy Taveras of the Rockies stole 68 bases and was caught seven times in 2008; Tony Womack of the Pirates stole 60 while being caught seven times in 1997.

On Tuesday night, Ellsbury hit his fourth home run in 19 games after hitting just one in his first 79 games (376 plate appearances).

Since May 21 in Chicago, the game that manager John Farrell has identified as the beginning of Ellsbury’s revival, the Sox center fielder is batting .354, a number exceeded in the big leagues only by Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers (.372) and Mike Trout of the Angels (.359), among players with at least 200 plate appearances in that time.

Only Miguel Cabrera (.454), Trout, teammate David Ortiz and Puig have a higher on-base percentage than the .415 posted by Ellsbury in that span.