Jonesin for a special moment in a very long season
Septeber 1, 2016
Jonesin’ for a very special
moment in a long season
By KEITH GAVE
Has there been a better feel-good moment in this tumultuous baseball season than what’s we’ve witnessed this week at Comerica Park?
OK, I’ll grant you that they don’t get much better than the game-winning home run J.D. Martinez hit earlier this month on the first pitch he’d seen after six weeks on the disabled list.
But considering the importance of these games and what the Tigers are going through with another wave of injuries to key players, watching the Major League Baseball debut of Jacoby Jones as he led Detroit to two critical victories has been awfully special.
Seriously, if you’re not at least a tiny bit emotional after seeing the kid’s mom wiping tears from her eyes after her boy got his first big-league hit to knock in what stood to be the game-winning run, then you should go to the top of the heart-transplant list.
A 24-ear-old shortstop by trade, Jones started his big-league career at third base in place of Nick Castellanos, who is out 4-6 weeks with a broken hand. Jones was smooth and flawless in the field, with two hits, two RBI and a run scored in the 8-4 win over the White Sox.
For an encore, he started his second game in centerfield in place of the re-injured Cameron Maybin, who tweaked his bad thumb with an ill-advised head-first slide while stealing second in the series opener with Chicago.
After a marvelous pitchers’ duel between Cy Young candidates Justin Verlander and Chris Sale ended in a draw with the score tied 2-2, Jones opened the ninth with a double off the wall in right-centerfield. He missed a walk off home run by a few feet. Jarrod Saltalamacchia moved him to third with a deep fly to center – the second time in the game he moved a runner to third with less than two outs.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus then sent Tyler Collins to the plate to pinch hit for Andrew Romine – which tells you all you need to know about the right ankle bothering Miguel Cabrera enough to keep him out of the game. But Collins managed to hit a short fly ball to former Tiger Avasail Garcia – a play that would have kept most runners glued to third-base.
Not Jones, who at 6-foo2, 200 pound looks like he has the kind of speed of a former young centerfielder for the Tigers named Kirk Gibson. Jones tagged and raced for home, scoring the game-winning run on a play that wasn’t close.
Tigers sweep – and keep pace with Cleveland and the three teams ahead of them in the wildcard race, Toronto, Boston and Baltimore, all winners.
If you’re keeping score at home, Jones has four hits, including three doubles, in eight at-bats, with two RBI and three runs scored.
Nice start, kid.
And for the record, be reminded that Jones was acquired at the trade deadline last year when Dave Dombrowski sent Joekim Soria to Pittsburgh about the same time he made two other trades to get Michael Fulmer, Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris. Just sayin’.
Bucks finally break Grayling’s dominance
A long-dormant local football rivalry may be showing a bit of a pulse.
The Roscommon Bucks ended a 13-year losing streak to Grayling with a 20-14 upset victory. The Aug. 25 game was the season-opener for both teams. The Vikings have dominated the neighborhood series since 2002.
But nobody in Roscommon is getting carried away, certainly not Bucks coach Steve Clements.
“It’s only a great rivalry when you win once in a while,” Clements told the Houghton Lake Resorter. “It’s not just a football game, it was huge for the team and for the community. . . It’s a great way to start the season.”
It doesn’t get any easier. The Bucks were scheduled to travel to Mio on Thursday to face the always-dangerous Thunderbolts. On the same evening, Grayling travels to Gladwin. Kick-off for both games is 7 p.m.
Already? Two Wings out with knee injuries
For the second time in a week, knee issues have forced two key Red Wings to the sidelines in the coming World Cup of Hockey.
Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, who was to captain Sweden in the eight-team tournament, pulled out when he injured his knee in off-ice training. Earlier, Niklas Kronwall decided he couldn’t play because his problematic knee isn’t 100 percent. Both said being ready to start the regular season with Detroit is their priority.
Kronwall’s continuing health issues underscore the one thing still remaining on General Manager Ken Holland’s long, off-season to-do list: Acquire a defenseman who can play in a top pair, probably with Danny DeKeyser.
With a surplus of forwards and younger defenseman, Holland has the chips to spend. But if Kronwall is unable to compete like he has for much of his career, the Wings are dealing from a position of weakness. Never good.