Alex Avila, Kosuke Fukudome

Austin Jackson’s incredible throw saves game for Tigers


Jose Valverde can thank center fielder Austin Jackson for improving to 37-for-37 saving games this season.

Jackson made an amazing throw to cut down Kosuke Fukudome at the plate on a game-ending double play as the Tigers edged the Indians 8-7 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep in Detroit.

Better late than never, has the video here (this entry would have been posted an hour and a half ago if were more timely with game-ending highlights).

The Tigers racked up seven runs in the third against Ubaldo Jimenez, with Delmon Young and Victor Martinez homering to knock in five of the runs.  Jimenez, who beat the Tigers with eight strong innings on Aug. 10, is now 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA in four starts for Cleveland.

Detroit won despite a poor outing from Rick Porcello, who gave up five runs in 3 2/3 innings.   The Tigers needed six relievers to finish off the Indians from there.  Valverde, who has been perfect in save situations, got himself into big trouble in the ninth, walking Fukudome and then hitting Jason Donald to start the inning.  However, after a sacrifice bunt advanced the runners, pinch-hitter Matt LaPorta came up and hit the fly to center that wasn’t deep enough to score Fukudome.

With the sweep, the Tigers moved 4 1/2 games ahead of the Indians in the AL Central.  The good news for Cleveland is that it’s still just three games in the loss column.  Still, the Indians really needed to salvage one of these three games.

David Ortiz and Kris Bryant win 2016 Hank Aaron Awards

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 26:  (L-R) Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer 2016 Hank Aaron, Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred and David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox pose during the Hank Aaron Award ceremony prior to Game Two of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on October 26, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.

Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.

Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.

Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.

Alex Rodriguez is taking his analyst role quite seriously

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 12: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees answers question in a press conference after the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on August 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

If you’ve happened to catch any of the coverage of the 2016 postseason on Fox and FS1, you’ve heard former Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez as part of an analyst panel with host Kevin Burkhardt and former major leaguers Pete Rose and Frank Thomas. Rodriguez has drawn rave reviews not just for passing a rather low bar we set for former athletes-turned-commentators, but because he’s adding real insight drawn both from his playing days and from doing research.

Indeed, Rodriguez is taking his new job as an analyst quite seriously, Newsday’s Neil Best reports. Bardia Shah-Rais, the VP of production for Fox, said of Rodriguez, “This is not a hobby for him. It’s not a parachute in. He’s invested. If we have a noon meeting, he’s there at 11:30 a.m. He’s emailing story ideas in the morning. He wants research. He’s almost all-in to the point where it’s annoying.”

Rose also praised Rodriguez, saying, “You’ve never been around a guy who prepares more than Alex does. Alex does his homework. He knows the game. He understands players. He’s into the deal . . . Frank does a great job in preparation, too. I’m the only one that don’t prepare as much as these two guys. I don’t know if that’s because I can’t write or what it is. But these guys do their homework and they ask questions and they ask the right questions and then you put that in with our experience, all the things we’ve been through and how good we get along with each other, that’s why it shows up on the TV.”

Rodriguez, who hasn’t officially retired despite not having played since the Yankees released him in mid-August, wouldn’t commit to more TV work beyond this year’s postseason.