Breaking it Down: Austin Jackson’s flip into the Fenway Bullpen

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated

Cleveland Indians center fielder Austin Jackson made an absolutely spectacular catch into Fenway Park’s bullpen on August 1st.  With Cleveland up 7-5 in the bottom of the fifth, Hanley Ramirez absolutely crushed a pitch over the middle of the plate to left-center field with the bases empty, but Jackson leapt over the bullpen fence and made the catch.

Let’s break this play down in a little bit more detail — all screen shots from the play are taken from the above tweet, provided by Major League Baseball — from when the catcher initially set-up, to the incredibly athletic play that the 30-year old made in Boston’s bullpen.

For starters, the catcher initially set up on the outside corner — below and outside of the strike zone.

Pitch location, Jacson catch 8-1-2017

Instead, Dan Otero’s pitch drifted into the strike zone at about mid-thigh on Ramierzright in Ramirez’s wheelhouse.

Where it ended up, Jackson catch 8-1-2017

A pitch middle away has been where Ramirez has had the most success this season.

Hanley Ramierz vs. R, Jackson catch 8-1-2017

Side note: Why would any right handed pitcher throw low and away to Ramirez? Keep throwing the pitches inside, it doesn’t matter if it’s low or high, and he won’t punish those poor, undeserving, baseballs.

As we already know, this ball was headed to Boston’s bullpen; but what is kind of hard to see is the incredible amount of ground Jackson covered to get in position to make a play. He practically started in dead center field.


Jackson Starting point, Jackson catch 8-1-2017

Jackson quickly moved to the fence at the pen.

Jackson against the fence, Jackson catch 8-1-2017

While the speed and route to the ball were fantastic, arguably the most incredible part of the play is the fact that Jackson didn’t hit his head on the turf on the other side of the fence. He was able to keep his body, all 205 pounds of it, off of his head…with only one hand.

Jackson one hand on the fence, Jackson catch 8-1-2017

No concusion for Jackson, Jackson catch 8-1-2017JPG

The 30-year old center field kept his head off of the ground while still holding onto the ball to record the out and keep a run off of the board.

Despite the theatrics from Jackson, Cleveland’s bullpen was unable to hold onto its two run lead. Boston overcame a one-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning with a three-run walkoff dinger by Christian Vazquez.

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