It was getting progressively worse for Edwin Jackson in his last three starts before he went out against the New York Mets Friday night in Citi Field.
He went 5 2⁄3, 3 1⁄3, and 2 1⁄3 innings in those three outings, giving up 18 hits (seven home runs), six walks, and 17 runs, (16 earned), in back-to-back-to-back losses to the Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers.
“When he’s missing he’s missing out over the plate, and they’re not missing,” Dusty Baker told reporters in discussing Jackson’s recent struggles after the start against LA in the nation’s capital.
“He’s made some quality pitches, but like I said, when he misses it’s right over the plate and right around waist-high. He’s got to keep the ball down or elevate upon command.”
“I think the biggest thing these last couple starts that’s been night and day from earlier in the season is just consistency in delivery,” Jackson said.
“It hasn’t allowed me to be able to throw my pitches for strikes like I needed to.”
“I’m pretty sure even the ones I had earlier when I was kind of off a little it wasn’t this bad,” Jackson added, “and I just have to continue to work, but I’ve worked too hard to let a couple of starts affect me, and I’ve worked too hard to finish the season up like this, so I’ll definitely continue to work and be ready to finish the season off strong like I started.”
Tonight in New York, Jackson worked around a two-out walk in the first, but left a 1-0 fastball up for Mets’ catcher Travis d’Arnaud in the first at bat of the second, and d’Arnaud clobbered it, sending a solo home run to left for a 1-0 lead.
It was 6-1 in the Nationals’ favor when Juan Lagares bunted his way on to start the fifth inning and scored one out later on a single by Norichika Aoki, 6-2.
Jackson left a 2-0 fastball up in the zone to Jose Reyes, who lined it to right to put two on with one out in the fifth.
Asdrubal Cabrera went down for a 3-2 slider outside and lined an RBI single to right field to drive Aoki in, 6-3, before a fist-pitch slider, belt-high outside to d’Arnaud went out to left-center for a game-tying three-run home run, 6-6. Second of the game for d’Arnaud on the last pitch of the game from Jackson.
• Edwin Jackson’s Line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 2 HRs, 77 P, 49 S, 3/2 GO/FO.
“When things aren’t going your way, you can’t fold,” Jackson told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after what ended up a 7-6 loss. “You can’t lose confidence. You can’t give in. You just have to keep fighting and know things will turn around.”
“He started off strong and then he hung a couple sliders to a hot hitter, d’Arnaud, and that ball was just stop right there,” Baker said, “and the one inning he found the heart of the plate too much, and that was it, but we still had a lot of chances to win that ballgame.”