On the arm of Austin Jackson
Austin Jackson began Sunday’s game by ending his streak of games without a strikeout. He ended it on a strike to the plate.
For someone who has never been known for his throws home, his throw to beat Kosuke Fukudome home was a thing of beauty. Usually, his assists home have been one-hoppers, a few times off the mound. Sunday’s throw was one of his rare throw from him that had air under it.
“I’ve had that play a couple times this year and I didn’t get it all the way in the air,” Jackson said. “On that one I was able to get a lot of air on it.”
According to ESPN, Jackson is the first center fielder to assist on a double play to close out a one-run victory since Pittsburgh Pirates great and former Tigers coach Andy Van Slyke on Sept. 27, 1988. That Pirates team, of course, was managed by Jim Leyland.
It was one play where comparing Jackson to his predecessor, Curtis Granderson, doesn’t open a pandoras box. Granderson wasn’t known for his arm when he roamed center field at Comerica Park, but when he needed to be could put everything into a ball. This was the first time I can remember seeing that from Jackson.
As it is, that’s three times in a span of about two weeks that Jackson has made a defensive play that helped alter the course of a game. Whatever your opinion of his offensive season or his role in the lineup, he’s showing why he deserves to be out there.