Tag: Austin Jackson

Rajai Davis AP

Tigers center fielder Rajai Davis could miss ALDS with groin injury


Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that the Tigers may leave outfielder Rajai Davis off the playoff roster for the ALDS against the Orioles because of a groin injury suffered Saturday.

Davis isn’t a big name, but he stepped in as the primary center fielder when the Tigers traded Austin Jackson to the Mariners in the three-team swap that netted them David Price from the Rays.

He’s not a great defensive center fielder, but Davis is one of the fastest players in baseball and hit pretty well this season with a .282 batting average and .721 OPS in 134 games. Don Kelly and Ezequiel Carrera are the other center field options, so the Tigers would really like Davis to get healthy.

Pouliot’s 2014 American League awards picks

Mike Trout

If the American League MVP race doesn’t provide as much intrigue as usual this year, at least the Cy Young competition still offers some controversy. Here are my AL picks for the three player awards, with the NL selections to follow on Tuesday.


1. Mike Trout
2. Michael Brantley
3. Robinson Cano
4. Victor Martinez
5. Adrian Beltre
6. Jose Altuve
7. Josh Donaldson
8. Jose Abreu
9. Adam Jones
10. Jose Bautista

Trout wasn’t quite as good this year as he was the previous two, but he’s still the AL’s best player and he’ll finally get his much deserved first MVP award, thanks to the Angels’ ascension. It’s not a particularly close race for first. Trout was third in the AL in OPS behind Martinez and Abreu, but the margin was minuscule. In fact, in OPS+, they graded out at 169 for Abreu, 168 for Martinez and 167 for Trout. And if Trout wasn’t as valuable defensively or on the basepaths as he was in previous years, he still obviously had much more value there than Martinez or Abreu.

Brantley is the clear No. 2 in my mind: 156 games with the AL’s seventh best OPS, plus 23 steals in 24 attempts. WAR isn’t fond of his defense, but I don’t find any fault with him in left field. It gets a whole lot more difficult to separate the candidates after that. Both versions of WAR favor Donaldson and Alex Gordon because of their defense. I’m going Cano third because he was a better hitter than both and still an above average defensive second baseman in my mind. Martinez comes in fourth despite his total lack of defensive value; it was just an awesome offensive season. Particularly nice is that he grounded into a modest 17 double plays, despite the fact that he’s slower than molasses, he was always putting the ball in play (just 42 strikeouts) and he so often had Miguel Cabrera on first base ahead of him.

Abreu’s lack of defensive value, combined with his early DL stint, drops him to eighth on my ballot, though I’m guessing he’ll finish third behind Trout and Martinez when the actual results are revealed in November.

Tough to leave off the list were Kyle Seager, Gordon and both Cy Young candidates.


AL Cy Young

Felix Hernandez: 15-6, 170 H, 68 R, 56 ER, 16 HR, 248/46 K/BB in 236 IP
Corey Kluber……: 18-9, 207 H, 72 R, 64 ER, 14 HR, 269/51 K/BB in 235 2/3 IP

That’s awfully, awfully close.

Fangraphs WAR, which is based strictly on homers, strikeouts and walks, obviously favors Kluber. Baseball-reference WAR, which isn’t FIP based, also prefers Kluber.

The ERA crown went to Hernandez, who finished at 2.14 after having four earned runs from his next-to-last start taken away over the weekend (it was his own error that led to the runs, and yes, it was clearly an error). Kluber finished at 2.44. Even with the extra four earned runs, Hernandez would have come in at 2.28, though he would have lost first place to Chris Sale at 2.17.

As for Sale, I’m discounting him from this discussion. He was more effective than either Felix or Kluber, but he finished 60 innings shy of both. The other two pitched 33 percent more than Sale did.

Hernandez led the AL with a 0.915 WHIP. Kluber’s was a much more pedestrian 1.095.

Kluber faced the tougher competition; his opposing batters had a .715 OPS, whereas Hernandez’s came in at .704.

In the end, I think this comes down to defense. The Mariners’ had the second best defensive efficiency in baseball, behind only Oakland. The Indians ranked 25th. That goes a long way towards explaining how Kluber gave up 37 more hits despite recording 21 more strikeouts and surrendering two fewer homers.

If you buy into that — that the gap between Seattle’s defense and Cleveland’s defense was that huge — then you have to give the Cy Young Award to Kluber. If you don’t, then you might prefer Hernandez. Personally, I don’t think the Mariners’ defense was quite that good — the outfield was something of a mess until Austin Jackson arrived and Brad Miller isn’t anything special at short — but I do believe the Indians defense was that bad and perhaps worse. For that reason, I’m throwing my support behind Kluber. It’s still close, but I think it’s the right call.

1. Kluber
2. Hernandez
3. Sale
4. Jon Lester
5. Max Scherzer


AL Rookie of the Year

1. Abreu
2. Dellin Betances
3. Collin McHugh

A year ago, I had Jose Iglesias edging 3 1/2 months of Wil Myers atop my ROY ballot. Neither of those seasons would have cracked the top five for AL rookies this year.

Just look at the starting pitching options:

Collin McHugh: 11-9, 2.73 ERA, 157/41 K/BB in 154 2/3 IP
Yordano Ventura: 14-10, 3.07 ERA, 153/68 K/BB in 179 IP
Masahiro Tanaka: 13-5, 2.77 ERA, 141/21 K/BB in 136 1/3 IP
Matt Shoemaker: 16-4, 3.04 ERA, 124/24 K/BB in 136 IP
Marcus Stroman: 11-6, 3.65 ERA, 111/28 K/BB in 130 2/3 IP
Roenis Elias: 10-12, 3.85 ERA, 143/64 K/BB in 163 2/3 IP
Jake Odorizzi: 11-13, 4.13 ERA, 174/59 K/BB in 168 IP

Only one of them can make the cut, and I’m choosing McHugh. Betances was probably the AL’s best reliever, or at least he and Wade Davis were 1 and 1a. Abreu was Abreu. Honorable mention goes to Danny Santana and Kevin Kiermaier on the offensive side. Santana hit .319 and swiped 20 bases in 405 at-bats. Kiemaier’s .263-10-35 line in 331 at-bats doesn’t look like anything special, but he played some terrific defense in right and center.

Rajai Davis suffered a Grade 1 pubic strain on Saturday

rajai davis getty

This comes with horrible timing for the Tigers …

As reported by Lynn G. Henning of the Detroit News, outfielder Rajai Davis suffered a Grade 1 strain of his pubic symphysis Saturday night while sprinting down the first base line on a second-inning groundout. It’s essentially a minor groin strain, but even the mildest of groin strains can take several days — or even a few weeks — to fully recover from.

Davis is batting .282/.320/.401 with eight home runs and 36 stolen bases in 134 games this season. He’s been the Tigers’ starting center fielder since they moved Austin Jackson to the Mariners on July 31 as part of the David Price trade and there really isn’t a reliable backup for that spot on the Detroit bench.

Ezequiel Carrera will get the nod Sunday afternoon against the Twins. Detroit can grab its fourth straight AL Central title with a win over Minnesota. A loss could set up a Game 163 tiebreaker against the Royals.

Mariners keep Wild Card hopes alive with walk-off in the 11th inning

Kyle Seager

The Athletics lost to the Rangers 5-4 on Saturday night, leaving the Mariners a small glimmer of hope to attain the second AL Wild Card slot. Though they squandered plenty of opportunities to take care of business earlier in the game (for instance, loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth), the Mariners eventually won 2-1 with a walk-off fielder’s choice by Austin Jackson in the 11th inning. Jackson narrowly beat the relay throw to first base on what would have been an inning-ending ground ball double play.

Now, both the Mariners and the slumping Athletics will have meaningful baseball to play on Sunday. An Athletics loss and a Mariners win will force a one-game playoff to determine the winner of the second Wild Card, which would be hosted in Seattle on Monday. Alternatively, an Athletics win or a Mariners loss on Sunday will wrap up the Wild Card for the A’s.

Here’s what’s happening on Sunday:

  • Athletics @ Rangers, 3:05 PM ET (Sonny Gray vs. Derek Holland [tentative])
  • Angels @ Mariners, 4:10 PM ET (Cory Rasmus vs. Felix Hernandez)

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Tyler Flowers

White Sox 5, Athletics 4: This is how a season is woofed away. Not with a bang, but a whimper. The A’s took a 4-3 lead into the ninth, but Eric O’Flaherty gave up a homer to Tyler Flowers which tied the game. Onto extras where, in the twelfth, Jesse Chavez gave up another homer to Flowers. OK, so I guess that was with a bang — two actually — but not from Oakland.

Mariners 4, Astros 1: And I do mean woofed away. As it may potentially be, with the M’s now only a game behind the A’s. Here Brad Miller’s eighth inning triple plated two and then he came in on a subsequent Austin Jackson single. Felix Hernandes tossed six shutout innings but got the no-decision because, well, that’s more in keeping with what has always happened to him as opposed to all the winning he’s done this year.

Blue Jays 8, Cubs 0: Marcus Stroman with The Maddux (i.e. a shuout in under 100 pitches). His took 93 pitches. He allowed three hits and struck out eight against Maddux’s former team.

Tigers 9, Royals 5: A crucial head-to-head series starts with the Tigers on top, pulling to within one game in the Central. A six-run third inning was the difference-maker here. Justin Verlander was OK, allowing four runs in seven innings, but the Tigers will accept OK from him these days. The win was the 9,000th in Tigers franchise history.

Orioles 4, Red Sox 0: The Orioles have a ten-game lead in the East. That’s their largest since they won the pennant in 1979. One guess as to the last time any team had a lead as big in the AL East. Guess all you want, you’ll never get it. The answer: the 1984 Tigers. Which, yes, us old people still remember being in the AL East, but no one else does. [UPDATE: I have no idea whey I said that. It was part of an online conversation that I badly misinterpreted and mangled. Carry on]. Miguel Gonzalez with six and a third shutout innings. Nelson Cruz with a couple of hits.

Dodgers 9, Padres 4: Clayton Kershaw wins his 18th, allowing only one earned run in eight innings and reducing his ERA to a silly 1.67. Carl Crawford hit a three-run homer. But boy, you gotta see those unearned runs.

Mets 3, Rockies 2: Two runs in the ninth as the Mets rally to win it. Curtis Granderson was the engine here, with the RBI triple to plate one of those runs and by coming in to score the second.

Cardinals 5, Reds 0: St. Louis has won their ninth of ten to keep their surge alive. A two-run single for Matt Carpenter broke the scoreless tie in the seventh and a three-run Matt Adams homer broke it wide open in the ninth. Cincinnati’s bullpen has a record of 0-14 since the All-Star break.

Pirates 6, Phillies 4: Jeff Locke allowed one run over seven and struck out nine. Though most of the action took place in the eighth with the Pirates plating four of their six runs and the Phillies three of their four. Starling Marte singled, doubled and homered. Pittsburgh remains in the second wild card slot, a game and a half up on Milwaukee and Atlanta.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,500. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Nationals 2, Braves 1: Doug Fister shut the Braves the heck down for seven innings, allowing only two hits. Atlanta still had a shot against the Nats’ bullpen in the eighth, but strikeouts and a foul out by Justin Upton with men on killed any hope. Braves couldn’t hit their way out of a paper bag. No one in Atlanta seems to care all that much, so I’m struggling to think why I should at this point. Oh, Atlanta. What an uninspiring bunch.

Angels 12, Indians 3: Jered Weaver wins his 16th, which leads the AL. Albert Pujols was 3 for 5 with a homer and three driven in. Kole Calhoun hit a two-run homer and David Freese had a three-run shot of his own in the makeup game.

Marlins 6, Brewers 4: The Brewers continue to skid out of control. A Marlins slugger hit a monster home run. But this time it wasn’t Giancarlo Stanton. Watch Marcell Ozuna go way, way out of here. Off the dang scoreboard: