Results tagged ‘ Austin Jackson ’
Not much fault can be found in Andy Pettitte’s performance Saturday night in ALCS Game 1 even though he stood to get a losing decision when he left the game. The lefthander gave up two runs in the sixth inning on a nook-and-cranny triple by Austin Jackson and a pair of soft singles by Prince Fielder and Delmon Young.
Jackson hit a ball that struck the right field line just past first base and hit a barrier along the stands and rolled along the wall. I have never seen a ball hit in that area or behave that way. Considering Jackson’s considerable speed, a three bagger was the result.
The inning might have been worse for Pettitte, but he worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam by retiring Andy Dirks and Avisail Garcia on infield pops. Andy lasted two out into the seventh when he walked Omar Infante with Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera coming up.
Pettitte just couldn’t get any run support from his teammates, who stranded the bases loaded three times. The Yankees tied a franchise record with 10 grand slams this year but hit only .247 overall with the bags juiced.
Phil Hughes was working on a terrific streak of retiring batters hitting with runners in scoring position before Miguel Cabrera’s two-run double in the fifth inning knocked him out of Tuesday night’s game.
Opponents were hitless in 23 consecutive at-bats with runners in scoring position against Hughes over his past five starts. The Tigers’ two runs off Hughes in the fourth inning were on a home run by Cabrera and a double by Jhonny Peralta that scored Brennan Boesch from first base. The 22nd straight out Hughes got with a runner in scoring position was Alex Avila on a grounder to first that stranded Peralta.
All that ended in the fifth as Hughes struggled with a lofty pitch count. Singles by Andy Dirks and Austin Jackson gave the Tigers runners on first and third. Hughes made it 23 straight batters retired with runners in scoring position when Omar Infante lined out to shortstop Derek Jeter. But Cabrera followed with a liner into the left-field corner for a two-run double and a 4-2 Detroit lead.
That was all for Hughes, who toiled for 102 pitches in 4 1/3 innings. It was the briefest outing for Phil since he also went 4 1/3 innings June 20 at Yankee Stadium in a 10-5 loss to the Braves. He had previous success at Comerica Park (3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in four career starts), but not this time. Hughes did not walk a batter and struck out three but gave up eight hits.
Cabrera has been a thorn in the Yankees’ side over the years. In 38 career games against the Yanks, Cabrera is batting .370 with 10 doubles, one triple, 15 home runs and 37 RBI in 138 at-bats. This year, the Detroit third baseman is batting .355 with four doubles, five home runs and 11 RBI in 31 at-bats against the Yankees.
The Yankees came close to taking Hughes off the hook with a ninth-inning rally that eventually fell short as the Tigers held on for a 6-5 victory, their sixth in a row. The Yankees’ second loss in two nights at Detroit was their 12th in the past 18 games and eighth straight loss in one-run games.
It would have been a very satisfying finish if the Yankees had completed the comeback. There is no more annoying situation to watch in baseball than Jose Valverde closing out a game. He is the anti-Mariano Rivera, taking forever to deliver the ball and going through all sorts of gyrations. Why it is that umpires let him get away with all that stuff is beyond me to comprehend.
So to see him have to sweat through what should have been a cookie of a save was a pleasure. The key at-bat was a nine-pitch duel won by Raul Ibanez, who walked with two out to push Eric Chavez, who had singled with one out, into scoring position and bringing the potential tying run to the plate.
Ichiro Suzuki, whose run-scoring double in the seventh was his first hit with a runner in scoring position since joining the Yankees, got another clutch hit with a single to center to score Chavez. Russell Martin ripped a double to the wall in left to score Ibanez and make it a one-run game.
Third base coach Rob Thompson did the smart thing to stop Ichiro at third because left fielder Quintin Berry got to the ball quickly and returned it to the infield swiftly. Five years ago, a coach might have sent Ichiro but not now. Curtis Granderson had a chance to put the Yankees ahead but popped out and is now 0-for-10 in the series against his former team.
An eight-inning run the Tigers scored off Joba Chamberlain proved vital. It came on a two-out single by Dirks, Detroit’s 9-hole hitter who had three hits and two RBI.
The Yankees had 11 hits, but only one in 12 at-bats from the first third of the order – Granderson, Jeter (who got the hit) and Robinson Cano. Nick Swisher had two doubles and a single. Chavez, moved up to the 5-hole after a three-hit game Monday night, had two more hits, including his 11th home run. Suzuki had his first multi-hit game for the Yankees.
Detroit’s Comerica Park is supposed to be a pitcher’s park, but don’t tell that to CC Sabathia. The big lefthander continued to have trouble there Tuesday night. The Tigers ended their seven-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory, although Sabathia was not solely responsible for the loss.
The Yankees made some questionable base running decisions that only served to run them out of rallies and take the heat off Brad Penny, whom they had bashed at Yankee Stadium back in the first week of the season. This time, Penny went six innings and held the Yankees to an unearned run.
Detroit went on the attack against Sabathia right from the beginning. First-pitch swinging, Austin Jackson and Triple A call-up Scott Sizemore each doubled. They scored on an infield out and a sacrifice fly, respectively. Sabathia, who said later that he lacked command, got out of jams in the second and third and seemed to settle down until the fifth when Jackson and Sizemore struck again with run-scoring hits.
Give CC credit by holding it there. Yankees manager Joe Girardi ordered Miguel Cabrera walked intentionally with runners on first and third, a move that managers should make more often with hitters of Cabrera’s caliber. Sabathia made his skipper look like a genius by striking out Ryan Raburn and getting Casper Wells on a pepper shot.
It was a still a game there at 4-1, but the Yankees stumbled around the bases too much to close in on Detroit until Mark Teixeira connected off reliever Daniel Schlereth in the eighth for his eighth home run.
An error by Sizemore at second on a grounder by Jorge Posada with one out in the fourth seemed to open the door for the Yankees, who got a single by Andruw Jones and a double by Russell Martin to get on the board. Jones then made the first running blunder by trying to score what would have been the tying run on a shallow fly to right by Brett Gardner.
Yankees third base coach Rob Thompson was down the line and did not signal Jones to run, but he did anyway and got cut down by a wide margin on Wells’ strong throw to the plate-blocking catcher Alex Avila for an inning-ending double play.
It got even uglier in the sixth after the Tigers had gone in front by three runs, not a time to be overly daring on the bases. Robinson Cano, on first base with one out, hesitated a bit on a pitch in the dirt by Penny that bounced to Avila’s left and ended up getting caught in a rundown and tagged out. Posada followed with a single, but he, too, was thrown out on an ill-fated attempt to steal second base.
It all added up to another loss at Comerica for Sabathia, who has not won there since May 26, 2007 when he was still with the Indians. In his past four starts at Comerica Park, Sabathia is 0-4 with a 7.56 ERA. Over that span, CC has allowed 35 hits, including six home runs, in 25 innings, although he kept the ball in the yard Tuesday night despite yielding 10 hits.
The game was nevertheless another example of the Yankees getting length from their starter as CC pitched through the seventh.
Sometimes it’s a scratch hit or a flare that can snap a player out of a slump and get him going on a hot streak. Maybe that’s what the chopper of an infield single in the ninth inning Monday night at Detroit was for Alex Rodriguez.
It has been tough sledding for A-Rod the past couple of weeks since he was sidelined briefly due to a strained left oblique. Rodriguez had five hits in 38 at-bats (.132) since the injury and had his batting average fall from .366 to .260 before his rally-extending single in the ninth that helped set up the tie-breaking hit by Nick Swisher.
It was just the kind of contribution A-Rod needed to feel a part of a Yankees victory, 5-3, that sent the Tigers to their seventh straight loss. Never one to take his at-bats into the field, Alex has been his usual superb self at third base. He has also been out for early hitting every day trying to find ways to work out of this recent slide.
Rodriguez said during the past homestand that he had become conscious of the oblique as he hit and in avoiding tweaking it again developed bad habits at the plate. His hit was on a high chopper that Detroit third baseman Brandon Inge failed to glove on a short hop and pushed Mark Teixeira, who had walked, to second base.
The single gave the Yankees renewed life in an inning that came close to ending before it began. Curtis Granderson, in his return to his former stomping grounds, led off the ninth against Tigers closer Jose Valverde with a walk in a 12-pitch at-bat in which the Yankees center fielder fouled off seven pitches.
Granderson further frustrated Valverde by stealing second base – almost. Grandy had it swiped, but he slid past the bag and was tagged out by shortstop Jhonny Peralta. Teixeira’s four-pitch walk re-started the inning for the Yankees, and A-Rod’s hit kept the line moving.
Nick Swisher, batting in the 5-hole for injured Robinson Cano, unlocked a 3-3 score with a single to center. Texeira beat the throw to the plate from Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson as Rodriguez raced to third. A-Rod scored an insurance run on a passed ball by Alex Avila, who otherwise had a good night with a pair of opposite-field home runs off Bartolo Colon.
Colon continued the Yankees’ stretch of quality starting pitching despite squandering a 3-0 lead. He lasted seven innings, one more than opposing starter Justin Verlander, with an economic 97 pitches. Avila’s two homers were among seven hits off Colon, who did not walk a batter and struck out seven.
It was the third consecutive impressive start for the 2005 American League Cy Young Award winner who is on the comeback trail after missing all of the 2010 season. As a starter, Colon has a 2.49 ERA with 19 hits allowed, three walks and 20 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings. He has become a major part of a rotation that over the past 14 games has pitched to a 2.54 ERA and a 7-2 record while the Yankees have gone 10-4.
Perhaps the best thing that happed for A.J. Burnett Saturday came while he was sitting on the bench after an impressive first inning in which he retired the Tigers in order with two strikeouts. The Yankees struck for three runs against Brad Penny, Burnett’s former teammate with the Marlins, right off the bat and then hung another three spot the next inning on Mark Texeira’s second three-run home run in two games.
A 6-0 cushion in the second inning was just what someone like Burnett, who is atttempting to come back from a horrendous 2010 season (10-15, 5.26 ERA), needed to help his relax in his first start of the year while still battling a nasty cold.
A.J. faced a threat in the second when Miguel Cabrera led off with a double to right-center. Last year, that might have set Burnett off, but he gathered himself and struck out Victor Martinez and Brennan Boesch on impressive fastballs that were all the more effective because of the twilight. A wild pitch allowed Cabrera to reach third base, but that was as far as he went as Jhonny Peralta flied out to center.
Austin Jackson got the Tigers on the board with a home run in the third, and they put a rally together in the fifth after Boesch, Peralta and Alex Avila all singled with none out for a quick run. Brandon Inge was credited with a sacrifice despite clearly bunting for a hit, and a walk to Jackson loaded the bases.
Burnett kept the damage to a minimum as Will Rhymes grounded to Teixeira at first base for a run to cut the Yanks’ lead to 6-3. Burnett held it there by striking out Magglio Ordonez.
It was a sound effort for Burnett, whose chances for a victory improved even more when his new catcher, Russell Martin, homered with two on in the sixth to boost the Yanks’ lead to 9-3.
It turned out that the Yankees did not trade a future American League Rookie of the Year Award winner to get Curtis Granderson from the Tigers 11 months ago.
Austin Jackson, a highly-touted prospect in the Yankees’ system, went to Detroit along with relief pitcher Phil Coke in the three-team trade also involving the Diamondbacks Dec. 8, 2009 that brought Granderson to the Bronx and included sending pitcher Ian Kennedy to Arizona.
When Jackson got off to a smoking start for the Tigers as their center fielder and leadoff hitter, Rookie of the Year talk surrounded him for much of the first half. Jackson tailed off somewhat in the second half, although he still had a fine year. It just was not as good as that of Rangers closer Neftali Feliz, who set a rookie record with 40 saves and was the choice of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for the Jackie Robinson Award that was announced Monday.
Felix, 22, was listed first on 20 of the 28 ballots submitted by two writers in each league city, second on seven and third on one to amass 122 points, based on the 5-3-1 tabulation system. Feliz’s saves total broke the previous rookie mark of 37 by 2000 winner Kazuhiro Sasaki of the Mariners.
Feliz, who had a 4-3 record with a 2.73 ERA in 70 relief appearances, is the first Dominican pitcher to win the award and the third winner from the Dominican Republic overall, joining Alfredo Griffin and Angel Berroa. Dominican-born winners in the National League were Raul Mondesi, Rafael Furcal, Albert Pujols and Hanley Ramirez.
A closer has won the AL award three times in the past six years. Oakland’s Andrew Bailey won in 2009 and Huston Street in 2005. Feliz is the fifth closer honored. The first was the Orioles’ Gregg Olson in 1989. Yankees pitcher Dave Righetti, now the Giants’ pitching coach, was a starter when he won the award in 1981. Feliz is the second Rangers player to win the award. The other was first baseman Mike Hargrove in 1974.
Jackson, who received the other eight first-place votes and was the runner-up in the balloting with 98 points, led all AL rookies in runs (103), hits (151), doubles (34), triples (10), extra-base hits (48), stolen bases (27) and total bases (247). Jackson batted .293, stole 27 bases and scored 103 runs, but he struck out 170 times, a very high total for a player who hit only four home runs.
In the National League, Giants catcher Buster Posey beat out Braves right fielder Jason Heyward for the award. Posey, 23, was named first on 20 of the 32 ballots cast by two writers in each league city, second on nine and third on two to finish with 129 points. Posey hit .305 with 18 home runs and 67 RBI and handled a pitching staff that helped the Giants win the NL West title. His 21-game hitting streak from July 4-28 was the longest of the season by a rookie in either league.
Heyward (.273, 18 HR, 72 RBI) received nine first-place votes and was the runner-up with 107 points. Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia (13-8, 2.70 ERA) got one first-place vote and placed third with 24 points. The other two first-place votes went to Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez (.273, 19 HR, 85 RBI), who finished fourth with 18 points.
Posey was the sixth NL catcher honored, joining Johnny Bench, Earl Williams, Benito Santiago, Mike Piazza and Geovanny Soto. Catchers who won the award in the AL were Thurman Munson, Carlton Fisk and Sandy Alomar Jr. Other former Giants winners were Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Gary Matthews and John Montefusco.
The victories by Feliz and Posey marked the third time since the award’s inception in 1947 that the winners were opponents in the World Series. The other years were 1981 when Righetti and the Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela started Game 3 at Dodger Stadium and 1951 when Mays and Yankees infielder Gil McDougald played in all six games of the Series.
It should have happened in 2003 with the Yankees’ Hideki Matsui and the Marlins’ Dontrelle Willis, but Matsui lost out to Berroa in a disputed election.
Curtis Granderson wasn’t going to let the player who went to Detroit in the trade that brought him to the Yankees show him up Tuesday night. Austin Jackson, the rookie who replaced Granderson as the Tigers’ center fielder, led off the game by hitting CC Sabathia’s first pitch into the left-center field bleachers.
The Tigers kept hitting Sabathia hard that inning, but Granderson prevented the line drives from becoming hits. He raced into right-center to take down Ramon Sanitago’s blast to the warning track in right-center. Granderson topped that with a diving catch in left-center to rob Johnny Damon.
Tigers starter Justin Verlander, who has a history of first-inning problems (opponents are batting .293 off him in the first and .222 thereafter), spit up the lead by allowing two runs in the bottom of the first on Nick Swisher’s bases-loaded single. Swisher was in the lineup despite suffering from right tennis elbow. He said before the game it most bothers him when he swings and misses. Batters do a lot of that against Verlander, but with Alex Rodriguez down with a left calf strain Swish was needed. He just made sure not to swing and miss.
Verlander’s problems continued into the second, which Granderson got started with a home run of his own to get even offensively with Jackson. Verlander’s shaky start (four hits and four walks through the first 11 batters) had Detroit manager Jim Leyland warming up a reliever in the bullpen as early as the second inning.
I spent some time in Cooperstown talking with a writer friend of mine from Detroit who was of the opinion that the Tigers got the best of the off-season deal in which they acquired outfield prospect Austin Jackson from the Yankees in the three-team trade involving the Diamondbacks that sent Curtis Granderson to the Bronx.
My friend had a point to a degree. Jackson is not your ideal leadoff hitter (25 walks, 98 strikeouts), but he is batting .318 and has played a very good defensive center field. Granderson, on the other hand, has taken longer to have an impact with the Yankees. At 29, he is six years older than Jackson and has a contract for a $5.5 million salary while Jackson is being paid $400,000. Much of this leans the argument to my colleague’s side.
But no trade should be judged that quickly. Things can change, and they have lately for Granderson. Frankly, two weeks ago it could be safely said that Granderson was having not just an off year but a bad year. Heck, 2009 was considered an off year for him, and he still hit 30 home runs, so what were Yankees fans to make of him in 2010?
The Yankees envisioned Granderson taking to the new Yankee Stadium much the way Johnny Damon did last year. That hasn’t quite worked out, but over the past two weeks Granderson has shown signs of settling in to warrant the confidence manager Joe Girardi has expressed in him.
Maybe it has been a steady dose of American League Central pitching against the Yankees of late, but Granderson has come alive offensively. He made the difference in Monday night’s 3-2 Yankees victory over the Indians with a two-run homer in the eighth off Jake Westbrook that swung the pitcher’s duel in favor of Javier Vazquez, who is 3-0 with a 2.77 ERA over his past four starts and has not lost since June 30.
It might have been a second consecutive two-dinger game for Granderson, but a drive in the sixth hit off the top of the right field wall and he was thrown out at second trying for a double. The hits extended Granderson’s modest hitting streak to six games in which he is batting .429 with a double, three home runs and four RBI in 21 at-bats. Go back even further over a period of 14 games and Granderson is batting .346 with two doubles, three homers and five RBI in 52 at-bats to lift his season average from .225 to .249.
Granderson hit .249 last year, so there is nothing all that exciting about that as an average. It is, however, a major improvement over .225. That the Yankees have the best record in the majors has allowed Granderson to stay under the radar somewhat this year. This recent stretch whets the appetite of fans hoping he will fulfill expectations.
As for the bullpen, Girardi continues to make adjustments. He named Dustin Moseley to start Thursday night’s game at Cleveland and return Sergio Mitre to long relief. Even more telling was his decision in the eighth inning Monday night to bring in David Robertson and not Joba Chamberlain to replace Vazquez after a leadoff walk. The move paid off as Robertson got a double play. Joe then brought in lefthander Boone Logan against lefty-swinging Shin-Soo Choo, who struck out.
Girardi said he would continue such maneuvering based on matchups, but it also means that Chamberlain, who is 0-1 with a 12.00 ERA in his past five outings, won’t be getting the automatic eighth-inning call. Competition for roles on a team can often be the antidote for complacency.
Well, now we know where Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden gets his salty mouth from – his grandmother. The lefty’s gram was in the stands at the Oakland Coliseum Sunday when he pitched a perfect game against the Rays. “Stick it, A-Rod!” said Peggy Lindsey, the woman who raised Braden after his mother, her daughter, died while he was still in high school.
Alex Rodriguez has been the subject of Braden’s scorn stemming from the April 22 game at the Coliseum when the Yankees star trotted across the mound returning to first base on a foul ball, a big no-no in the eyes of the young pitcher. A-Rod had been generous in his praise for Braden’s achievement but wisely decided to back off from grandma. There was a time not long ago when Rodriguez would not have realized that such a battle is not winnable.
Curtis Granderson, who is on the disabled list because of a groin injury, was not with the Yankees for a return trip to Detroit. He was a popular player there in his years with the Tigers but will have to wait another year to see his old fans, unless the Yankees play the Tigers in the playoffs. This is the Yankees’ only trip to Detroit this year.
Austin Jackson, the Yankees’ prospect who went to Detroit in the three-team trade involving Granderson, has been a feast-or-famine player for the Tigers. He entered the game leading the American League in batting (.371) and runs (26) but also was second in strikeouts with 37 in 132 at-bats, which would translate to around 200 over a full season. Jackson drove in a run with an infield out to increase the Tigers’ lead to 3-0 in the second inning.
The Yankees’ Sergio Mitre, taking Andy Pettitte’s spot in the rotation, was not the only substitute starter in the game. For the second time this year, a case of the flu caused Dontrelle Willis to be scratched. Taking his place was Australian lefthander Brad Thomas.
Jorge Posada was behind the plate for the first time in a week. The good news about that is Marcus Thames, also making a return to Detroit, could be the DH and stay out of left field. The bad news is that Francisco Cervelli and his .400 batting average was on the bench.
Romulo Sanchez’s reward for pitching 3 2/3 innings of no-run, one-hit relief Sunday night in Boston was a return ticket to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yankees made the move for Ivan Nova to have a fresh arm to back up Mitre. The problem, however, was that Nova was still en route to Detroit from Scranton, where he arrived at 5 in the morning after an all-night bus ride from Durham, N.C. Ah, life in the minor leagues.