Jankowski wreaking havoc for Padres
SAN DIEGO — In sports, "wreaking havoc" is a term more reserved for outside linebackers who crush running backs and sack quarterbacks.
But Padres manager Andy Green recently said "wreaking havoc" is exactly what 185-pound center fielder Travis Jankowski is doing these days.
"Travis is dynamic right now," Green continued in his assessment of the very fast, 25-year-old Jankowski after his three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Jankowski was 6-for-11 against the Brewers with four infield hits and a double. He also drew three walks. And Jankowski was just getting started when he reached base. He stole five bases in the three games, including a steal of home, and made two exception catches in center.
Since getting a chance to start every day with the arm fracture that sidelined Jon Jay on June 28 and the July 24 trade that dispatched Melvin Upton Jr. to Toronto, Jankowski has become a force as the Padres lead-off hitter.
Padres fans, who have seen many of the club’s leading players move on, have become enamored with the 6-foot-2 speedster with the flowing golden locks and perpetually dirty uniform.
"He’s making the most of his chance to play," Green said. "He’s jump-started us with the excitement he brings to the top of the order. He’ll do anything he can to get on base. And once on base, he’s an instant threat to be on second or third."
Jankowski will again be at the top of order Friday night as the Padres face Phillies’ right-hander Jeremy Hellickson of the Philadelphia Phillies in the opener of a three-game series at Petco Park.
Yes, Hellickson is still with the Phillies.
For weeks before the trading deadline, rumors swirled that the 29-year-old right-hander would be traded — even though a hand injury in the days leading up to the deadline clouded the issue.
But the Phillies decided to hold onto Hellickson, who is 8-7 with a 3.70 ERA in 22 starts entering Friday night’s matchup with Padres left-hander Christian Friedrich (4-6, 4.72 ERA).
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak decided having a veteran on a young staff was better than acquiring another prospect.
"There’s a huge value in having a veteran starter who can give us six and seven innings every start on a staff of young pitchers," said Klentak of Hellickson’s value as the trading deadline passed Monday.
"I’m glad to still be with the Phillies," Hellickson said. "I want to stay a part of this."
Friedrich, meanwhile, is coming off his best start since the All-Star break. He held the Cincinnati Reds to one run on five hits and a walk over six innings Saturday night at Petco Park. In his previous seven starts, Friedrich was 1-5 with a 7.86 ERA while pitching into the sixth inning only twice.
"The secret for me is to put the ball where I need to put it," Friedrich said after Saturday’s outing against the Reds.
"I like Friedrich," Green said. "He’s an extremely competitive person. He knows what he has to do to get people out. And when he struggles, he doesn’t panic. He remains focused."
- Christian Friedrich
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- Jonathan Jay
- Philadelphia Phillies
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- Travis Jankowski