Yet another chapter out of the Travis G chronicles, we'll take a look at Jesus Montero's monstrous Labor Day.
This Monday matinee against the Baltimore Orioles was certainly one of the craziest games that New York has been involved in this season. Heading into the bottom of the third inning, both teams had already combined for 15 runs, 17 hits, four walks and one hit batter. Even Scott Proctor, the relief pitcher who tallied 102.1 innings pitched for New York in 2006, made his first appearance for the Yankees since 2007.
The Orioles managed to tie the game 8-8 thanks to a Robert Andino solo shot in the top of the fifth. Jim Johnson was brought on in relief of Willie Eyre to face Jesus Montero to start the bottom half of the fifth inning.
Mr. Montero certainly didn't disappoint the 45,069 fans in attendance on Labor Day. Or the tens of thousands that watched on from their own televisions.
1) Jim Johnson isn't exactly known for serving up the long ball. In his previous 103 innings coming into the game, Johnson had only surrendered five home runs. In fact, the last homer hit off Johnson was on May 1 of this year by Paul Konerko.
2) Jesus Montero's power has been well documented by nearly every scout that has witnessed him play. On the standard scouting scale of raw power from 20-80, many have placed him at a perfect 80. His ability to smash the baseball to all fields, his bat control and hand-eye coordination are major contributors to his high prospect ranking heading into the 2011 campaign.
3) The first pitch of the at-bat was a curveball, called strike, up in the zone that Montero laid off. The next pitch was a 93 mile per hour fastball over the heart of the plate that he absolutely clobbered to right centerfield. 399 feet later, Jesus Montero had his first big league home run and electrified Yankee Stadium by putting the home team up 9-8 on the O's.
4) But wait, there's more. Montero stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning and blasted his second consecutive opposite field home run to extend the Yankee lead to 11-8. His second homer was 396 feet and landed in the same vicinity that his first did. He was able to foul off tough pitches inside and battle to see the juicy 94 mile per hour fastball down in the zone and over the middle third of the plate.
5) Montero was the recipient of two curtain calls yesterday afternoon. It's not very often that a Yankee receives two curtain calls in the same game, let alone a 21-year-old rookie. Needless to say, despite the fact that it was just one game, it was an announcement made loud and clear to major league baseball that he's here to stay.
"I showed a little bit to the fans, to the people. Now there's more to come."
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