July 1st, 2014

Tuesday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Athletics

No Victor Martinez again tonight as the Tigers proceed cautiously with his sore hamstring. J.D. Martinez is the designated hitter once again. The two big changes from Monday are that Austin Jackson is leading off, with Rajai Davis moving down to the ninth spot, and Bryan Holaday will catch with the lefty on the mound for a second consecutive night.

Initially, manager Brad Ausmus left open the possibility that Victor Martinez could work his way into the lineup if he felt good during batting practice. Martinez took swings without any apparent problem, but didn’t do a whole lot of running. After a discussion between Ausmus and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand, however, Victor Martinez was ruled out.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (1-for-3 off Brad Mills)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. J.D. Martinez, DH
  5. Torii Hunter, RF
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  7. Bryan Holaday, C
  8. Eugenio Suarez, SS
  9. Rajai Davis, LF

P: Rick Porcello

ATHLETICS (career numbers off Porcello)

  1. Coco Crisp, CF (6-for-16, double, walk, 2 K’s)
  2. John Jaso, DH (2-for-3)
  3. Josh Donaldson, 3B (0-for-4, 2 K’s)
  4. Brandon Moss, RF (0-for-5, walk, K)
  5. Jed Lowrie, SS (1-for-2)
  6. Stephen Vogt, C (1-for-1)
  7. Alberto Callaspo, 1B (4-for-20, HR, 3 walks, K)
  8. Nick Punto, 2B (3-for-15, HR, 4 walks, 2 K’s)
  9. Craig Gentry, LF (0-for-1)

P: Brad Mills

Game 79: When Austin Jackson goes for a walk

As the stats show, Rajai Davis’ walkoff grand slam down three runs is a historic feat. As recent trends argue, Austin Jackson’s nine-pitch walk that set up the grand slam wasn’t far off.

There are plenty of statistics showing the odds that were against Jackson getting out of that matchup with Sean Doolittle with a spot on base, let alone a walk, of which Doolittle had allowed one all season so far:

  • Doolittle had allowed one total baserunner — ONE — when getting a batter into a 2-2 count.
  • Jackson had more strikeouts (33) than walks (eight) and hits (12) after a 2-2 count this season.

That’s the situation Jackson faced after fouling off a 2-1 fastball from Doolittle. His at-bat, however, was just getting started.

“I didn’t want to make it an at-bat where I was just going out there and not really having a plan,” Jackson said. “I tried to step out and gather myself, really think the situation out. I know he has a good fastball. I faced him in the past. I think the main thing was just getting myself in position to hit early enough. He gets on you pretty quick.”

Said Doolittle: “That was a heckuva battle. You could see him really shorten up his swing with two strikes. I thought I threw some good pitches with two strikes. I went away, I went in, I elevated, and it was just a really good at-bat by him.”

Said Brad Ausmus: “That might’ve been the biggest at-bat in the inning there because Doolittle doesn’t walk a lot of guys. Huge at-bat and could be considered a turning point for us.”

He meant a turning point in the inning. Whether it’s a turning point for Jackson, who spent Monday afternoon working early on the field with hitting coach Wally Joyner, time will tell.

The first 2-2 fastball that came in might have been the toughest, a 97 mph heater inside that Jackson fouled off. The next two were more over the plate, but no softer at 96 and 97 mph.

Doolittle got his eighth pitch further in, and off the plate, trying to get Jackson to swing. He didn’t. With the count full, Doolittle went further in, and Jackson held off, loading the bases for Rajai Davis.

“Those are the type of at-bats that can wear you down a bit,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s throwing a lot of pitches, it’s hot out there. Those can take a little bit out of you. On top of it, it’s a walk and you’ve got another baserunner, and it’s a different game at that point.”

It still wasn’t necessarily a long inning for Doolittle, who was at 15 pitches for the inning. Two pitches later, his inning was over, and the Tigers comeback was sudden and complete.

“My stuff was there, it was just a little inconsistent,” Doolittle said. “The velo was there, and I thought I threw some good pitches, but I also threw some bad pitches. It was just an inconsistent outing, and unfortunately one of the ones I really slipped up on cost us the game.”

It came hours after Ausmus had decided to bat Jackson ninth in his batting order against A’s lefty Scott Kazmir. He said he had planned on giving Jackson another start at leadoff, where he had struck out four times and hit into a double play Sunday, before Rajai Davis’ numbers against Kazmir led him to essentially flip-flop them in the batting order.

Hours after that, the order meant Doolittle faced Jackson before he faced Davis. That worked out well.

Walkoff grand slams by the numbers

1 – Walkoff home run in Rajai Davis’ career

1 – Home runs Sean Doolittle has given up worth more than two runs

1 – Baserunner previously allowed by Doolittle this season after putting a hitter in a 2-2 count

2 – Walks given up by Doolittle this season

2 – Walkoff home runs given up by Doolittle in his career (Russell Martin hit the other one, a 10th-inning solo shot for the Yankees on Sept. 21, 2012)

2 – Walkoff home runs surrendered by the A’s to the Tigers, the other being a Lance Parrish homer off former A’s pitcher and current Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones on July 10, 1983

3 – Grand slams in Davis’ career

3 – Two-strike pitches fouled off by Austin Jackson to continue his at-bat against Doolittle

8 – Tigers grand slams since 1938, according to the team’s media relations department

9 – Pitches Jackson saw from Doolittle before drawing the walk that loaded the bases for Davis

10 – Years since the Tigers’ last walkoff grand slam, hit by Carlos Pena to beat the Diamondbacks on June 27, 2004, the day the Tigers celebrated the 20th anniversary of the 1984 World Series champions.

26 – Years since the Tigers’ only other walkoff “Super Grand Slam,” coming with the team three runs down. Alan Trammell hit that one on June 21, 1988.

236 – Professional appearances by Blaine Hardy (229 of them in the minor leagues) before notching his first Major League win. He was the pitcher of record when Davis hit his grand slam.

 

 

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