That was until Austin Jackson took Moore’s 106th and final pitch over the left field wall for a game-tying solo homer in the 7th. The homer came on a 3-2 pitch and Jackson forced three full counts on the day, frustrating Moore who otherwise flashed the immense talent that makes him one of the game’s top prospects.
Much has been made of Jackson’s new approach this season. Gone is the leg kick and a new two strike approach has transformed him into a tough out in the season’s first four games. Jackson got off to a terrific start in the Boston series. On the surface the 8-14 performance against the Red Sox was impressive, but what was more striking to me was Jackson’s ability to fight off some nasty two-strike pitches against a trio of really good pitchers at the top of the Red Sox rotation.
Jackson seems to be settling into the leadoff role in his third year. Expect his strikeouts to decline and his walks and quality at bats to increase. So far this season, Jackson is seeing almost five pitches per plate appearance. That’s more than any other leadoff hitter in the American League. Small sample, sure. But it also illustrates that he is buying into the changes that he and Lloyd McClendon have made to his approach. The trick is for Jackson to stay with it. Success makes it easier to stay the course.
Jackson has already scored seven runs in four games this year. He scored 103 two years ago. With the lumber he has sitting behind him in the lineup, Jackson should not only eclipse that mark but he has a good chance to lead the league at season’s end.