Adrian Gonzalez #23 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates their victory with Mark Ellis #14 and Hanley Ramirez #13 during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Anybody else notice that Mark Ellis has been hitting really well lately, or has that fallen through the cracks considering all the success the Dodgers have found lately? Consider the veteran second baseman just another piece to the puzzle in the Dodgers hot streak over the last 33 games.
In Tuesday's game Ellis delivered the walkoff hit in the ninth inning for a 3-2 Dodger victory, prompting praise from manager Don Mattingly. "Mark's got a ton of big hits for us and he is really swinging the bat well. He is the guy you're always comfortable with because you know the moment is not going to overwhelm him," he said.
It sounds like a comment you would hear any manager say about a player who just hit a walkoff, but Ellis actually has been putting up career highs in terms of clutch hitting. In 2013 he has scored 17 percent of baserunners score with him up to bat, that is four percent higher than his career average and two percent higher than the MLB average.
The more impressive number is that, 17 times this season Ellis has come up with a runner on third and less than two outs, and 14 times he has driven in the run. That is 82 percent of the time, his career average is 50 percent and the MLB average is 51 percent. Mark Ellis may not seem like the a "clutch" hitter, but those recent numbers argue otherwise.
Ellis is hitting very well right now, but that could not be said in June as he went 15-72 with 14 strikeouts. Mattingly blamed this poor stretch due to injuries he had been suffering from, "He started off the season swinging really well, and he was out for a while there (with the quad injury) and it seem it took him a long time, he never got back into his groove he had earlier this season," he said. "It seems like this last few weeks he's got his rhythm back and to me it looks a lot like his early-in-the-season work."
Ellis currently has an 11-game hitting streak, during which he is batting .415 with eight RBI and four runs scored. In the month of July he has raised his batting average 21 points, and has drove in 14 RBI in 22 games.
Don Mattingly gave Ellis the day off on Wednesday against the Yankees so he could get some rest before heading out to Chicago where they will face two left-handed pitchers. Against lefties this season he is 26-87 with four of his five home runs and 14 of his 20 RBI this season.
Throughout his career Ellis has finished seasons hot, posting his highest career offensive stats across the board in the months of August and September. So here is to a healthy Mark Ellis maintaining his hot bat, clutch hitting, and providing the Dodgers with another stable spot in the starting lineup until the end of this season.