Hey There Yanks
RHP Eric Hacker and RH reliever Steven Jackson each made their Indians debut last night in the Tribe’s 4-1 loss at Charlotte. The Pirates acquired them from the Yankees sperate weekend deals. Once they get over being dealt they will realize this can be a really good career move. For Jackson this is his third organization. He was originally drafted by Arizona and then was one of four players dealt to NY in January of 2007 for Randy Johnson. This is the first time Hacker has not been in the Yankees system and I’m sure it’s tough to push aside the dream of pitching in pinstripes. Both Hacker and Jackson have played with current Tribe pitcher Daniel McCutchen in the Yankees system and that has helped in their transition to Indy.
Hacker made just his 4th career Triple-A start giving up an unearned run over 5.2 innings. He could have been more efficient walking four batters and throwing only 48 of his 89 pitches for strikes. He’ll never tell you this, but I got the feeling he was dealing with a small strike zone. That can be the difference between a 5.2 inning outing or a 7 inning outing. He threw a really good curveball last night and mixed in his change, sinker, and fastball topping at around 92. (The in house gun was inconsistent). His pitch count was 85-90 and when he was pulled there was a run in and two men on base. Five scoreless innings was pretty impressive when you consider the nerves he may have felt pitching for a new organization. Here is what Hacker had to say about handling the nerves:
I had some butterflies as I was preparing for the game. Once the game started that all stops, it’s the same game no matter who you are with. I felt good tonight and the defense played great making some terrific plays. I was happy I was able to compete and keep us in the game. Too bad we didn’t win in the end.
Steven Jackson needed only six pitches to work a scoreless 7th inning. The 6-5 215 pound right-hander looked pretty pumped up and it showed by using his fastball to carve up Charlotte’s #8, 9, and lead off hitters. He told me he likes to work fast and throw stikes. It showed, but seriously who doesn’t? (I’m sure Pirates fan could come up with a few relievers who like to work slow and avoid the strike zone.) I get the feeling Jackosn will be on the fast track to the Pittsburgh bullpen. (Early word is he could be the next man to join the big club.) I wouldn’t mind seeing him pitch tonight to see how he handles back-to-back outings because it appears when you go to the Bucs pen you will throw, and you will throw a lot. If Jackson succeeds here he will get a shot. What helps both Hacker and Jackson is they are on the Pirates 40 man roster. An advantage the other Indians relievers don’t have.
The other half of the Hacker trade was Romulo Sanchez. The hard throwing righty has already pitched in two games for Scranton Wilkes-Barre giving up a HR in two innings of work. Sanchez is working out of the SWB bullpen.
News and Notes:
OF Jeff Salazar is riding a 10 game hitting streak. He doubled last night in the 9th to extend the Indians second longest hitting streak of the season. In addition to the hit streak, the double gave the Indians an extra-base hit in all 39 games this season. They are the only team in the IL to accomplish the feat. Speaking of streaks, the defense turned a double play last night for the 11th consecutive game.
Who’s hot? Besides Salazar, it’s 3B Neil Walker. He is hitting .282 this month with 20 hits in 21 games. For the month Steve Pearce is batting .294 with a .410 OBP. Steve has 3 bombs and 13 runs batted in. As of today he is hitting a remarkable .452 w/RISP and an even better .578 OBP w/RISP.
Last night was a tough night for Andrew McCutchen. He struck out three times last night after striking out only twice in his previous 76 plate appearances. Afterward he wasn’t sure if Charlotte starter Carlos Torres was throwing a cutter, but ‘Cutch new that it would run in on him and back up over the plate. Along with the cut fastball, Torres threw a couple of nice curveballs making it a long night for the Tribe lead-off man.
The Hitman (1-4, 5.06) is on the mound for the Indians tonight opposing Noblesville, Indiana native Wes Whisler (5-2, 1.72). First pitch is set for 7:15 with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:55.
One final thing…if this guy keeps it up and we’ll be seeing him sometime sooner than later.
Indians taking batting practice from Knights Stadium.
Who turned out the lights? Ty Taubenheim struck out Donny Lucy and as the last pitch of the inning came in, the lights went out. The concourse lights and the lights along suite level are working and that is what is providing the light in this picture. Thankfully the delay was only 20 minutes.