During a postgame interview in the aftermath of Wednesday evening's 9-5 victory over the New York Yankees, in which Jacoby Ellsbury hit a Boone Logan fastball over the green monster in left field to help secure a Red Sox victory, Ellsbury began to hear the echo of a chant from the Fenway faithfull: "MVP...MVP...MVP!"
Most would say Ellsbury is a lock for Major League Baseball's Comeback Player of the Year Award, which is typically defined as a player who has reemerged during a given season after an injury or down year.
According to MLB Depth Charts, Ellsbury wasn't even on their radar screen as a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year before the 2011 season even began, and now he's being mentioned as a legitimate MVP candidate.
Ellsbury only played 18 games in 2010, nearly missing the entire season with a rib cage injury. He's reemerged in a big way with 24 HRs, 84 RBI and a .313 average.
With 27 games remaining, Ellsbury ranks among the top 10 in the American league in average, runs (97, second), hits (169, fourth), stolen bases (36, third), doubles (35, tied for ninth), HRs (24, tied for ninth), RBI (84, tied for ninth) and OPS (.897, eighth).
He's also tops in multi-hit games, three-plus hit games and total bases.
But as impressive as his numbers have been, Ellsbury comes up big when the Sox have needed him the most. Aside from the home run he launched versus the Yankees, Ellsbury has had two game-winning hits in a row in early August versus the Cleveland Indians, and he helped salvage the only win the Red Sox had over the Rays in a short home stand by hitting a three-run homer in the first game of a three-game series. Had it not been for Ellsbury, the Sox would have been swept at home.
"He’s been great all year long. There’s nothing he can’t do on a baseball field," teammate Dustin Pedroia said. "We’re glad he’s on our team. He’s a force at the top of the lineup."
No player in Major League Baseball history has ever won both Comeback Player of the Year and the MVP award in the same given year.
Will this be the year Jacoby Ellsbury sets a major-league record?