After solid seven-inning, three-hit, two-run return to the Washington Nationals against the LA Angels, Edwin Jackson struggled against the Milwaukee Brewers, allowing seven runs (3 ER) on seven hits over five innings in an 8-0 loss.
His command wasn’t there, and Jackson gave up three walks and three home runs in his time on the mound in a relatively brief outing in the nation’s capital.
In spite of his issues, Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker was clear after the loss to the Brewers that the 33-year-old, 15-year veteran was not up with the Nationals on a start-by-start basis, trying to earn his spot in the rotation with each outing.
“He’s not on a pitch-by-pitch, performance-type thing,” Baker explained, when asked if Jackson would get a third start. “That can happen to anybody. So, sure, I don’t see why not.”
Jackson’s latest opportunity to show the Nationals he has something left came Sunday night in the nightcap of the doubleheader with the hard-hitting Colorado Rockies.
Baker told reporters before Sunday’s outing that he needed Jackson to go deep into the start.
“We need some innings today in this second game so we’re not extremely worn out when we get to Miami,” he explained.
“And so, this is a very big game for us, and we’re 3-3 on the year with [the Rockies], and this is a big game for us if we end up tied or whatever it is, who has home field advantage or something, so we’ll see.”
Jackson got two quick outs in each of the first two scoreless innings, but couldn’t work clean frames in either. He retired the Rockies in order in the third, however, in a 13-pitch inning that left him at 47 total after three scoreless, and he was up to 70 pitches after working around a one-out walk in the fourth.
After retiring the first two batters in the Rockies’ fifth, Jackson walked the opposing pitcher, Jon Gray, and gave up an infield single by Charlie Blackmon that gave Gerardo Parra a two-out RBI opportunity he cashed in with an RBI single to right field, 1-0, but Parra got caught in a rundown and Blackmon was thrown out at home trying to score on the play for a 9-3-6-4-2 putout.
Jackson took the mound in the top of the sixth with a 3-1 lead after the Nationals broke up Gray’s no-hit and shutout bids, and retired the side in order in an 11-pitch inning that left him at 101 pitches overall, and he came back out and set three more in a row down in the seventh in another 11-pitch frame that pushed him up to 112.
Edwin Jackson’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 112 P, 70 S, 7/3 GO/FO.
Jackson told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr, that he knew the Nats needed him to go deep in the start.
“I knew today, after a tough first game, where the bullpen came in and picked up a lot of slack, it was imperative that I go out and eat innings and come out aggressive from the start and pick the bullpen up, because we definitely needed it.”
“It means a lot,” Baker explained, “not only [because] we won the game today, but it put my bullpen back into relative shape tomorrow and ensuing days. That was big. So now we can pitch and play three days to the next off day on Thursday, so that was big for us. Jackson was sharp, very sharp, kept the ball down, had a good slider working today and he threw some changeups that Mike [Maddux has] been [working on with him], so and that would get them off his fastball and his slider, so that was a real good game for him.”