In seven starts as part of the Washington Nationals’ rotation, 33-year-old veteran right-hander Edwin Jackson had put up a 2.93 ERA, 11 walks, 30 Ks and a .239/.286/.448 line against in 43 innings pitched before he took the mound against the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night in the nation’s capital.
Jackson gave up two earned runs or less in five of those six outings. He gave up one run early in the second of three with the Marlins in D.C., on a hanging 1-1 slider that Giancarlo Stanton demolished for his 51st home run of 2017
The Nationals’ starter settled in (after walking three Marlins’ batters following the Stanton home run in the first) and he held the Marlins there through four before Dee Gordon hit a leadoff single, stole second, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sac fly for the second run of the game for the Fish, who trailed 3-2 at that point.
Jackson ended up going six-plus innings against the Nationals’ NL East rivals, giving up two singles to start the Marlins’ seventh, then committing a throwing error on a bunt which allowed the third run scored while he was in the game to come around.
Dusty Baker lifted the right-hander after a base-loading intentional walk to Stanton in what was a 5-3 game in the Nats’ favor, and Nationals’ relievers Oliver Perez (on a force at home) and Matt Albers (who got a backwards K, and a groundout to short) got three outs without another run scoring.
Edwin Jackson’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 103 P, 60 S, 7/5 GO/FO
“Stanton is not the guy you pick to gauge yourself on,” Dusty Baker told reporters in discussing Jackson’s work against the Marlins, “but he got a slider out over the plate, and Stanton knows what to do with it.
“So, the key was that he led off a couple innings and there wasn’t anybody on base, that’s the thing, and you’ve got to stop Dee Gordon from getting on in front of him, because this club’s come back, I think, mostly in their park, I think they’ve come back three walk-off victories in the ninth I think and you never have enough runs against these guys cause they can hit, they’ve got a tremendous lineup.”
Before the second of three with the Marlins, Baker talked about the results Jackson was producing since he was added to the Nationals’ rotation, and what sort of a role the veteran starter might play down the stretch and potentially in the postseason.
It’s something Jackson told reporters recently he wasn’t thinking about at this point.
“I’m just going out one day at a time, one start at a time, trying to do my job which is to go out and eat innings and keep the team in the ballgame,” Jackson said last week, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr.
“That’s all I’m focused on right now. Playoff roster is playoff roster. That’s way too far in the future for me to focus on. I have a job to do, I have a task right now and that’s to eat innings and do what I’m here to do -- that’s to keep us in games and help the bullpen a little bit.”
Jackson meant help the bullpen out by going deep in his starts, and he’s gone six or more innings in six of eight starts now, but he’s come out of the bullpen as well in a 15-year career in the majors, so he could help the Nationals out in a variety of roles.
“He’s — who knows, he could start a game, he could be our long reliever, there’s a lot of things he can do because he’s done all these things in his career,” Baker said.
“We’ll worry about that when we get there, but hopefully he just continues to pitch the way he has.”