As the debate rages for who is the most valuable player in the American League, Jacoby Ellsbury, Navajo, reminded Boston Red Sox fans who is the most valuable player on their team. As the Red Sox have fallen deeper into a nightmarish September that has seen them lose 18 games, with the possibility of missing the playoffs becoming all too real, Ellsbury may have just singlehandedly saved their season.
The Red Sox center fielder launched a three-run home run in the top of the 14th inning last night against the New York Yankees, leading the Sox to a 7-4 vicotry (it was his third homer of the day, he had two in the day game of the double header, the only two runs Boston scored.) The blast also kept the Red Sox one game ahead of the Tamp Bay Rays in the American League wild-card race, which is coming right down to the wire.
Ellsbury's numbers this year are mind blowing. He's become only the seventh player in major league history to hit at least 30 home runs, steal 30 bases, have 100 RBIs, 100 runs and 200 hits in one season. Atop of these gaudy numbers, Ellsbury has made plays when it's counted, hitting walk off home runs, game winning hits, and keeping his team in games they would have lost terribly were it not for his consistently outstanding play all season. He has done all this while playing stellar in his center field position.
The Red Sox are not out of the woods yet. They head to Baltimore to play the Orioles while the Tampa Bay Rays come to New York. In last place in the American League East, the Orioles have nothing to lose in their effort to play spoilers against the Sox. The Sox will need to keep winning and hope for their hated New York rivals to beat up on the Rays as well. The one thing Boston can count on, however, is their most valuable player, Jacoby Ellsbury. If the Red Sox make the playoffs, it won't matter if Ellsbury doesn't win the AL MVP award, he'll have done something much more important -- kept his team alive for the post season as they go for the only hardware that matters, a World Series ring.