Jackson Moving in the Right Direction

Starting pitcher Steven Jackson struggled through the first month of the season but he may have turned a corner, his five walks on Sunday notwithstanding. The 6-foot-5 Clemson grad has the ideals pitcher's build and a high ceiling. If he can maintain his consistency on the mound, Jackson could end up being an important component of the Yankees' 2008 pitching staff.

Last season, Steven Jackson finally seemed to finally put things together. With the Double-AA Tennessee Smokies, he had a career year, posting an 8-11 record in 149.2 innings.

His impressive 125:44 strikeout-to-walk-ratio indicated that he finally mastered his command and was slowly developing into the power pitcher he was projected as. He also had the second lowest earned run average in the Southern league at 2.65.

"Last year I was able to go out, make my pitches, and be consistent, and it lead to a real good season," said Jackson, who throws a two-seam fastball, changeup, sinking fastball, and slider.

All together, he appeared to be the steal of the Randy Johnson deal that also brought in former roommate Russ Ohlendorf, defensive whiz Alberto Gonzalez, and enigma pitcher Luis Vizcaino.

Jackson's first two starts with Triple-A Scranton where remarkably similar. In his season debut against the Richmond Braves, he scattered five hits and two runs across six innings, striking out five and walking one. He looked impressive during that start, attacking batters and keeping the ball down.

His second start was equally decent. Against Pawtucket, Jackson pitched five innings and allowed two runs, striking out four and walking one. His control seemed to be developing nicely and he was aggressively attacking hitters.

"My biggest thing is trying to get a first pitch out, I like to try and get them out quick so I can go deeper into a ball game," said Jackson.

Things went down from there. In his next three starts, Jackson posted 12.2 innings and gave up 24 hits, 14 earned runs, and a 9:7 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His worst start of the three was against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox; he only lasted 3.2 innings and gave up six runs.

"I kind of got away from some of the things I was doing before, my mechanics got a little bit out of whack and I was leaving pitches up in the middle of the plate and it caused problems," said the Clemson product.

Since his rough stretch, the Scranton\Wilkes-Barre coaches have been working with Jackson on his mechanics and trying a multitude of different styles in order to regain the right-hander's confidence on the mound.

"They've been giving me some suggestions on some new things I should try; a lot of it is trial and error. Some works, some doesn't," said Jackson. "Obviously I need to work on things now. If I didn't, I would be in the big leagues right now."

The adjustments made to Jackson's mechanics have started to pay off. In his start last Tuesday against the Pawtucket Red Sox, Jackson pitched seven innings of shutout ball, allowing four hits, one walk and five strikeouts, and now has 0.73 ERA in his last two starts overall after his start on Sunday.

If he can string together several nice starts, Jackson could end up in the Bronx sooner rather then later.

"My biggest thing is trying to get a first pitch out. I also focus on making good pitches every time. Getting people out is the name of the game," said Jackson.

Even though he gave up five walks on Sunday, he still only surrendered one earned run, and if his last two starts are a sign of things to come, Jackson may end up being the steal in the Johnson trade.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nLast season, Steven Jackson finally seemed to finally put things together. With the Double-AA Tennessee Smokies, he had a career year, posting an 8-11 record in 149.2 innings.
\r\n
\r\nHis impressive 125:44 strikeout-to-walk-ratio indicated that he finally mastered his command and was slowly developing into the power pitcher he was projected as. He also had the second lowest earned run average in the Southern league at 2.65.
\r\n
\r\n\"Last year I was able to go out, make my pitches, and be consistent, and it lead to a real good season,\" said Jackson, who throws a two-seam fastball, changeup, sinking fastball, and slider.
\r\n
\r\nAll together, he appeared to be the steal of the Randy Johnson deal that also brought in former roommate Russ Ohlendorf, defensive whiz Alberto Gonzalez, and enigma pitcher Luis Vizcaino.
\r\n
\r\nJackson's first two starts with Triple-A Scranton where remarkably similar. In his season debut against the Richmond Braves, he scattered five hits and two runs across six innings, striking out five and walking one. He looked impressive during that start, attacking batters and keeping the ball down.
\r\n
\r\nHis second start was equally decent. Against Pawtucket, Jackson pitched five innings and allowed two runs, striking out four and walking one. His control seemed to be developing nicely and he was aggressively attacking hitters.
\r\n
\r\n\"My biggest thing is trying to get a first pitch out, I like to try and get them out quick so I can go deeper into a ball game,\" said Jackson.
\r\n
\r\nThings went down from there. In his next three starts, Jackson posted 12.2 innings and gave up 24 hits, 14 earned runs, and a 9:7 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His worst start of the three was against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox; he only lasted 3.2 innings and gave up six runs.
\r\n
\r\n\"I kind of got away from some of the things I was doing before, my mechanics got a little bit out of whack and I was leaving pitches up in the middle of the plate and it caused problems,\" said the Clemson product.
\r\n
\r\nSince his rough stretch, the Scranton\\Wilkes-Barre coaches have been working with Jackson on his mechanics and trying a multitude of different styles in order to regain the right-hander's confidence on the mound.
\r\n
\r\n\"They've been giving me some suggestions on some new things I should try; a lot of it is trial and error. Some works, some doesn't,\" said Jackson. \"Obviously I need to work on things now. If I didn't, I would be in the big leagues right now.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe adjustments made to Jackson's mechanics have started to pay off. In his start last Tuesday against the Pawtucket Red Sox, Jackson pitched seven innings of shutout ball, allowing four hits, one walk and five strikeouts, and now has 0.73 ERA in his last two starts overall after his start on Sunday.
\r\n
\r\nIf he can string together several nice starts, Jackson could end up in the Bronx sooner rather then later.
\r\n
\r\n\"My biggest thing is trying to get a first pitch out. I also focus on making good pitches every time. Getting people out is the name of the game,\" said Jackson.
\r\n
\r\nEven though he gave up five walks on Sunday, he still only surrendered one earned run, and if his last two starts are a sign of things to come, Jackson may end up being the steal in the Johnson trade.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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