Jacoby Ellsbury New York Yankees
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees have seen a better version of Jacoby Ellsbury as of late and his turnaround couldn’t come at a better time.

You don’t have to go too far back to when Jacoby Ellsbury was written off as a fourth outfielder for the New York Yankees. Struggling immensely to stay in the lineup, let alone live up to the digits on his paycheck, the $153-million man lost his starting gig to Aaron Hicks earlier in the season.

Now, as the pennant race heats up here in late August, Ellsbury may be finding more playing time due to his key contributions as of late and a pair of slumping Bombers.

After going 1-for-3 with a run scored and a double in Monday night’s loss to the Cleveland Indians, Ellsbury has now hit safely in eight straight starts (since August 11), going 10-for-31 (.323) with eight runs scored, two doubles, three home runs and eight RBI’s.

He has also recorded multiple RBI’s in six of his last 11 starts after collecting at least two RBI’s in just three of his first 57 games of the season. That’s a far-cry from what he was slashing when he came off the disabled list until the start of that span (August 8), when the 33-year-old slashed a mere .173/.280/.222 with three extra base hits in 27 games.

It might be time to move Jacoby Ellsbury back to the top of the lineup. In the Yankees’ series opener with Cleveland, their 1-6 hitters went 0-for-22 with a walk while their 7-9 hitters went 3-for-9 with a double, a home run and the only two runs scored in the game by New York.

Clearly, Hicks, who has gone 12-for-72 (.167) since being reinstated from the DL on August 10, isn’t getting the job done at the top of the order so plugging in the hot-hand while the Yankees find themselves just 3.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East is the unquestionable choice.

A hot streak at this time for Ellsbury also provides manager Joe Girardi to properly pick his spots with Brett Gardner, the struggling Hicks and Aaron Judge. The rookie sensation is hitting .179 (26-of-145) with seven home runs and 65 strikeouts since the All-Star break this season, prompting a couple days to step back and re-group.

The way Ellsbury is playing makes decisions like these in a postseason battle not feel like a total loss.