Tag Archives: Austin Jackson

Tigers @ Rays 6-29-12: David Price is Really Good

If it feels like Tigers starters have given up an inordinate number of home runs this season, believe me, it feels much worse when you’re watching the Rays hit solo homer after solo homer off your ace.  But let’s not dwell on the outcome, because I have pictures!  I’ll post the whole set somewhere and have a link at some point, but for now, I’ll give you the highlights.  Please feel free to share with a credit back to this blog.  Enjoy!

Coke pitches in the bullpen

Action Coke!  Tampa’s bullpen is on the field, so photo ops are easy.

Avila and Yong during BP

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JV tries to kill us, Inge kills the internet, and this is only week 2

(This was written yesterday, FYI, so assume this was all yesterday morning after JV’s start.  I forgot to e-mail the post to myself from the work computer.  Oops.)

Why do I feel like this season has been at least a month long already? My heart should not be litterally pounding during the 10th game of the year. Insanity.

And speaking of insanity, this team (and the fans, actually) has rendered me incapable of coherent speech multiple times over already, so here’s a collection of disjointed thoughts for you.

– At some point during the third game against the White Sox, I had completely transformed into the “Y U No” guy and found myself screaming at the television:

TIGERS OFFENSE Y U NO HIT BASEBALLS?

BULLPEN Y U NO THROW STRIKES?

LEYLAND Y U NO KILL SCHLERETH?

PRINCE Y U INJURE OWN STARTER?

DELMON Y U NO LIKE RUNNING?

DUNN Y U HIT BASEBALL NOW?

FANS Y U NO LIKE OWN TEAM?

And so on. Thank God for Porcello and his rediscovered sinker. When you are reduced to meme-speak this early in the season, you know you’re in for a long summer.

– Boys, I know it is self-preservation, but you’re supposed to protect your pitcher. One of you couldn’t have stood still or knocked down that foul ball or something and kept it from hitting Wilk?

– I guess if you’re going to pass sinus infections and strep around the clubhouse, best to get it out of the way this early in the season. Maybe you don’t want to give it to your broadcaster who just went through chemo, though. Just a thought.

– The fan panic continues at a level that is so ridiculous that I can’t even read Twitter during games if things are going badly. Ryan Raburn should be burned at the stake! Miguel Cabrera is ruined! Jim Leyland should be fired because we lost a game/for leaving JV in/taking JV out/ever using his bullpen/using statistics to compose a line-up/breathing! After last night, it turns out I can’t even read Twitter during games when things are going WELL. I hopped on after Inge’s homerun of majesty last night to see if Samera was gloating (heh) and check the feeds of the few other Tigers fans I can stand to follow. According to a few of those folks, people have such a deep hatred for Brandon Inge that they were actually angry that he hit a home run. That broke a tie. And ended up being the difference in the game. And gave JV a chance at his first win.

… I don’t even know what to do with this information. If you hate a guy so much that you can’t tip your hat and say “huh, good job, I guess”, or even acknowledge that he might have changed the outcome of an entire game, I don’t want to know you. You might call yourself a fan of the team, but we have very different definitions of the word “fan”.

– Along that same line, should we really be upset that the bottom part of the order is stepping up to win games when the middle is so clearly slumping? I love you, Gerald Laird.

– I hate to get my hopes up, but I kind of want to marry this version of Austin Jackson. Never leave us Austin Jackson Who Hits Balls and Takes Walks!

– The MLB Tonight commentary during their live lookins during the 9th inning last night were hysterical. They were utterly convinced that Leyland had gone out to pull Justin during his mound visit and had been talked out of it. Having watched far many, many mound visits during Justin’s starts, my husband and I believed that, after his last start, Leyland was absolutely going to leave Justin in, even if he lost the lead. We never for a moment thought that mound visit was anything more than a “Look, you need one out, just get this done”. I even told my husband that it was all probably some sort of psychological thing for him after the last start and Leyland was letting him work through it. The reactions and expressions of pure relief and glee on Avila and Verlander’s faces after the final out confirmed this long before the quotes from MLB.com did. Do I agree with letting your star arm throw that many VERY FAST pitches in April? No, I do not. But I kind of get it, even if it almost KILLED ME DEAD.

– I hate the White Sox. I hate them in their stupid White Sox faces.

 

Take heed, American League teams

Oh, you all know we have this guy . . .

. . .  and this guy . . .

. . . and you may have heard we had this guy.

But, with all of that going on, you may have forgotten that we still have this guy . . .

. . . and this guy . . .

. . . and, of course, this guy.

So, you know, good luck with that!

Open letters from opening day

Tragically, I was at work for the majority of the game yesterday.  Not nearly as tragically, I was at home in front of my television in time to watch Austin Jackson work some magic!  Through the magic of technology, I was following the game as closely as possible and have some open letters to our dear players for the start of the season.

To Prince Fielder, Please keep being adorable with Cabrera in the dugout.  Rubbing his back?  Hugging him from behind?  Priceless.  Maybe having a hetero-lifemate will keep him happy and out of trouble.

Jhonny Perlata- People said that there was probably no way you could have another season like last year.  They said that, based on your career numbers, last year was a fluke.  Well.  You quietly went about your business having a ridiculous spring, and no one talked about it.  And then?  Three-for-three with a walk on opening day.  You just keep doing your thing and we’ll keep laughing that no one seems to notice.

Dear, dear Austin Jackson, THIS.  That’s all I can say.  Do this, always, and maybe you can earn a small piece of the love that we had for Curtis Granderson and help us to heal.  Obviously, you loved it, too.  Did you see the replays of your smile after you hit the game winning run?  Be still, my heart!

Miguel.  Listen, buddy.  We’re not going to worry about the hitting, because you took three walks and they had the balls to walk you intentionally to get to Prince.  We laugh at that strategy.  And your ridiculous roll after catching the foul fly?  Adorable.  But what happened on that error?  That wasn’t even a ranging play.  The only thing I can imagine is that you had a flashback to the exploded face incident and balked.  And, honestly, I don’t blame you, but you’re out to prove something, and that something is not my lingering fear that you won’t make it as a third baseman.  Get it together.

Dearest Papa Grande, I don’t blame you.  Those people who apparently booed when you finished the inning?  They’re ungrateful idiots.  You weren’t going to stay perfect and everyone knows that.  Granted, blowing it on opening day was not ideal, but at least the monkey is off your back and you can start a new streak, right?  Please don’t ever change.

Oh, Tigers fans.  Speaking of booing, I have a note for you, as well.  Stop.  Booing. Your.  Own.  Team.  Stop it.  Did you really boo Inge when he was announced, on opening day, even though he’s on the DL and not playing?  Seriously?  I know you’re fickle when it comes to Inge, but that’s a new low.  And those of you who booed Valverde when he blew a save?  After all he did for the team last year?  Disgusting.  Please don’t start the year this way.

Justin, Justin, Justin.  Did you think I forgot about you?  How could I?  105 pitches, 8 innings, 1 walk, and 7 K’s.  I love you.  I love you so, so hard.  My in-laws sent us boxes of Fastball Flakes this week.  You have your own cereal, that’s how hard we love you.  DO THIS ALWAYS.

I love you, team.  Keep this up, and we’ll be just fine.

 

Spring training update- Tigers vs. Mets

I have Spring Break this week, which means bonus baseball!  I headed down to Lakeland this afternoon to catch the Mets against the Tigers.  After yesterday’s cancelled game, this proved to be a parade of pitching prospects and did not disappoint in that regard.  It DID disappoint in that it was the third tie game in a row, but, Spring Training, doesn’t count, whatever.  A few notes from today:

– Smyly’s line looked good and people seemed pleased with his start, but I need to point out that watching him pitch felt like watching Penny.  His pace was so. so. slow.  I don’t know if this is normal for him or if he was being extra careful because he knows he’s competing for a spot, but it was tiring to watch.

– Jackson had good contact, for which my section cheered heartily.  Inge also had good contact, also earning cheers from us.  Cabrera was Cabrera.  I don’t get to see him hit in person often but am always so impressed with his swing.  Everything people say it is and more.  Avila had two beautiful hits and Laird, LAIRD, hitting a double!  Amazement!  Really, overall, the hitting was what it has been all spring.  Nice stuff.

– Turner needs time, which I think all of us know and saying so is kind of beating a dead horse.  He got beat up pretty badly.  I don’t worry about them rushing him through the system after seeing what else we have out there, but I still feel the need to plead with people to give him time to develop.

– Avila had two beautiful throws to Inge at second but didn’t get the call on either of them.

– I feel like Balester has kind of been lost since we’re so focused on who our fifth starter will be, but I’ve been impressed with him so far.

– Speaking of fifth starters, I think I’m officially casting my vote for Oliver.  Yes, he was pitching against mostly second string today, but he looked great doing it and his control has improved significantly.  No walks in four innings!  Two broken bats!  Hooray!

This has nothing to do with the game, but I’m sure you’ve all heard that Pauley was released.  I could hear the Tigers faithfully collectively saying “No, really?” in a sarcastic tone at hearing this.

You all want pictures, right?  Here you go:

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Spring training update 5- Tigers at Braves

Husband and I headed out to ESPN Wide World of Sports for the opening Tigers game of the Spring against the Braves.  Typically, this game is a night game and the weather is delightful.  This year, we were faced with an afternoon game during an unseasonable heat wave with 15+ mile per hour winds.  In case you were curious, 30 SPF sunscreen without reapplication is not sufficient.  My shoulders are spectacular.

Anyhow, if you’ve been following any of the media surrounding the Tigers this spring lately, you’ll know that a) the press is confused by Leyland’s raging man crush on Clete Thomas, b) Inge’s playing time this year is wholly dependent on his ability to hit, c) Leyland loved how Santiago played at second last season, and d) there is some kind of created battle between Worth and Inge for playing time (… I have no idea).  All of these points will be important as I give you some highlights.  Pictures will come after that.

– I hate to tie a team to their fans because they have no control over them, but I’ve been going to Braves vs. Tigers games every March for a few years now and there’s a definite pattern.  While most fans are great, the ones who are not are obnoxious, drunk, and rude.  We always sit in the grass seats along the third base line and there’s a beverage stand on the other side of the fence behind us.  As the games progress, the heckling gets more and more crass.  Today, there were some guys who started in from the first inning with stunningly tasteless comments about Cabrera’s drinking and Fielder’s weight.  Stay classy, Braves fans.

– Austin Jackson struck out to lead off the first inning.  You could feel the Tigers fans (and there were a LOT of us) groan inwardly.  Then Boesch and Cabrera proceed to strike out, as well, and things didn’t seem so terrible.

– Fister looked like his usual, awesomely efficient, self.  Worked through the first two innings cleanly with fairly quick outs.

– Speaking of awesome pitching, a combined 1 hit game?  Awesome.  Granted, starters started coming out in the 6th, but still.  Pauley was the only troubling one with back-to-back walks.  Guh.  Way too familiar.

– Clete Thomas started in left field and made me wonder why on earth we continue to play Delmon at that position.  He could have let that ball go foul, but no, he wanted a job and proceeded to chase it into foul territory, crash over the left field fence, fall into the bullpen, and come up with the ball still in his hand.  INSANITY.  Full confession- I’ve had a crush on Clete since his debut with us, so I don’t really blame Leyland.

– Inge walked in his first at-bat and didn’t do much else at the plate, though still, it wasn’t a strikeout!  HOWEVER.  It was like he told Leyland “I’ll see your Inge Can Play Second But Still Must Hit” and raise you two web gem plays at second.  It was RIDICULOUS and the fans ate it up.  (I realize the Inge haters are vocal, but every time I go to a game, he always gets crazy cheers when his name is announced.)  First play- stretched out fully horizontal and snagged a ball scorched up the middle, saving a run.  Second play- I missed while getting food, of course.  I came back to our spot and asked my husband what I missed, to which he replied, “Inge being a bad ass”.  Apparently he made some insane underhanded flip to the bag to get the last out of the inning.  Both plays also required different movement than any of the plays he’s made at third, meaning this was just a direct skill transfer.

– Keep your eye on Ryan Strieby.  He was impressive during batting practice today.  His swing is crazy smooth and has a ton of power behind it.  Four balls left the park off his bat during batting practice.  Head hit a lovely ball out during the actual game, earning him a second look in my book.  Keep your eye on Luis Marte on the pitching end of things, as well.

– Turner was great to see pitch in person.  He looks fantastic, and there’s not much more I can say there.

And now, pictures!

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Spring training update 4- MOAR PICTURES!

Really, just a continuation of the last update.  Apologies for taking so long.  The laptop went in for a hard drive transplant and is now back and running.  Also, there was a birthday and a Flogging Molly concert in there, somewhere.  Anyway!  To the pictures!

When we left off, the infielders were doing drills with some assistance from a few pitchers.  The rest of the pictures were with Kenny Rogers learning how not to commit errors.  A few of the starting pitchers started throwing from the mound without the screen but the hitters weren’t really taking swings (though I did see a few balls fly…).  Fister and Scherzer were throwing on the front to fields so I could actually watch them.  We weren’t watching what everyone important- and I’m talking Leyland, Verlander, Al Avila, La Russa, Kaline- went to the back to watch.  Wunderkind Turner was throwing his session from the mound.  Early reports are pretty impressive, but I have no first-hand information on this.

Fister pitching

Doug Fister pitches while being incredibly lanky.

Max Scherzer pitching

Scherzer pitches from the mound while being Scherzer.

Of course, the outfielders had very little do to while waiting for actual batting practice to start.  Prince Fielder took some time chatting with our corner outfielders while not shagging balls.

fielder boesch and young

I'm 99% certain that Delmon Young is the one with his back to the camera as he talks with Fielder and Boesch.

HALL OF FAMER ALERT!

Willie Horton

Husband and I were standing out by the road when a golf cart rolled past (not unusual during spring).  After a beat, we were both like “Holy crap, Willie Horton!”.  We had pretty much the same encounter with Al Kaline, who was warmly greeted by everyone he passed.  His cart also drove within inches of us, which was just awesome.

Everyone broke into rotations at this point between the four fields.  On the near fields, where we were, they were working on base running and batting practice.  The base running was actually fun to watch.  I got a good luck and the guys taking leads from first and taking off.  This, of course, will be important this year because we have possibly the slowest line-up in all of baseball.  I have no data to prove it, but I’m fairly certain this is a fact.

 

base running

You can see out entertaining they found this. Don Kelly takes a lead while Laird laughs at him.

 

Jackson running

Help us, Action Jackson, you're our only hope!

first base

Brandon Inge and friends wait for first base to move or something.

Batting practice was fairly exciting.  Fielder, Young, Boesch, Cabrera, and Avila were all in the same hitting group and it was delightfully terrifying.  And by typing that, I may have just jinxed our entire season, of course.  Boesch whiffed at probably 4 or 5 pitches in a row off the pitching machine which had Cabrera practically doubled over laughing.  After that, he looked crazy good.  As many, many have already said, Austin Jackson looks great with his new stance.  His swing looked quick and he was the only one who cleared the fence while I was watching.  I watched one group of prospects that looked surprisingly good.  If we don’t trade them all away, we have some nice hitting on the farm right now.  Inge looked much better than last year- nice bat speed, good eye, hitting multiple parts of the field- but no one will even talk about that until he starts seeing real pitching this week.

Jackson hitting

Austin Jackson pops one over the fence while everyone watches.

Inge and Thomas

Inge and Thomas watch the ball fly.

And now for some bonus “Awwwwwww” shots:

Leyland and Leyland

The Skipper checks in with his son.

Awwww.

Leyland and Leyland. I'm cynical as all get out and this makes me warm and fuzzy.

Kaline's scooter

We were on our way out for the day, saw this, and nearly lost our minds. How incredibly COOL is this?! Kaline forever, dude.

Just a few blog notes for those of you who seem to have stumbled in lately (Thank you!):  I do plan to link to photo galleries.  I’ve taken a load of pictures and I seriously had a hard time picking which ones to put in these updates.  I’ll share, I promise.  Also, the blog and Husband will be at the Braves game on Saturday afternoon, so you can expect some pictures and an update later!

On a final note, is anyone at all surprised that Grady Sizemore is injured?  Anyone?  Not a good time to have the last name Sizemore right now, I tell ya’.