Center fielder Austin Jackson began his major league journey in 2010 with the Detroit Tigers. The 27-year-old had some prosperous seasons calling Comerica Park home. He finished second in AL ROY voting and led the AL in triples in 2012, while swatting 16 home runs and driving in 66 to the tune of a .300 batting average. On August 1, 2014, Jackson played his first game as a member of the Seattle Mariners. The results haven’t been particularly overwhelming.
Jackson is 1-for-9 so far in his return to Comerica Park after two ball games. He was hitting .273 as a Tiger before a trade left him bound for the Pacific Northwest. Since becoming the Mariners’ everyday center fielder, he has hit only .226 with a single extra base hit out of the leadoff spot.
David Price nicely out-dueled Felix Hernandez on Saturday night, effectively ending his record streak of pitching at least seven innings while allowing less than two earned runs at 16 games.
The Mariners’ five-game win streak came to a screeching halt also Saturday. Because Jackson hits leadoff for a team that relies mostly on manufacturing runs and leaning on strong pitching, his efforts moving forward will be crucial to the success of his team and making the playoffs. If Jackson cannot get comfortable and find his groove this year in a familiar environment like Comerica, his outlook for the remainder of 2014 does not look that great.
The Mariners managed a fruitful 10 hits against last night’s starter, Rick Porcello. Jackson failed to get his piece of the pie, reaching base only once via a fielder’s choice.
Tomorrow afternoon, Jackson has a chance to get his season back on track against Robbie Ray (1-2, 5.31 ERA). With a familiar setting and mediocre pitching matchup in his corner, Jackson should look to take advantage of this opportunity to start making a regular impact in the M’s lineup.