After the Whirling Darvish did well Wednesday night (see how long that lasts – remember who he pitched against in that game), the Dodgers go into Washington tonight with a two-game winning streak. Yea, both wins against the Giants. The Dodgers will start the slumping lefty Alex Wood, who is desperately trying to hold on to not just a starting job, but a place on the post season roster. Wood will have his hands full tonight, facing the National’s powerful virtually all right-hand-hitting lineup.
The Dodgers’ starting staff, top-heavy with lefties, will quite possibly face this issue in the post season, certainly if the Nationals’ two disabled lefty-hitting stars Bryce Harper and
Adam Eaton are still unable to play. As of now, the Whirling Darvish figures to be the only righty starter that the Dodgers will use in the post season, though there is always hope that Kenta Maeda will be part of the rotation.
Despite the odds being against Wood doing well tonight, the Dodgers do get a real break as far as Nationals’ starters go. In this three-game series, the Dodgers will face neither Max Scherzer nor Gio Gonzalez. Instead, tomorrow they will face A.J. Cole, and tonight, Edwin Jackson. Right up there with the worst pitchers in the game over the past decade, next to Joe Blanton (amazingly, also currently a member of the National’s pitching staff) next to Ubaldo Jimenez, next to headhunter Ian Kennedy, is tonight’s starter for the Nationals. Looking at Jackson’s 2017 stats, one notices that they do not look so bad, but with his mid-season return to the majors, he has followed a pattern present through much of his career – starting his pitching opportunity doing well, with his real form and ability setting in with a striking return to reality, and absurdly bad stats and a string of losses.
I’ve often said that Blanton’s 2013 2-14, 6.04 ERA season with the Angels was just about he worst season any major league starter has ever compiled, but Jackson has several seasons where he has come all too close to that. Included in his major league resume are the following season records:
|2007 - Tampa||5||15||1.76||5.76|
|2010 - Arizona||6||10||1.50||5.16|
|2013 - Chicago Cubs||8||18||1.46||4.98|
|2014 - Chicago Cubs||6||15||1.64||6.33|
Last season, he appeared in 13 games and 73-1/3 innings with San Diego, posting a 5.89 ERA and in another eight games for Miami, with an ERA of 5.91.
Jackson first returned to the majors in 2017, in early June, as a relief pitcher in Baltimore, and after allowing seven runs in five innings, he was, still in early June, released, after only three appearances. Six weeks later, the Nationals brought him up and inserted him into their starting rotation. His current 2017 5-5 record and 4.14 ERA are pretty average, but looking a bit deeper, one will see that Jackson after his return to the majors and the Nationals rotation, has truly reverted to form.
Over his first seven starts with Washington, he was 4-2 with an ERA of 2.93, but since then he has reverted to his real, career-long form. He has now lost three of his last four
starts, and over his last 15 innings pitched, he has allowed 13 earned runs for an ERA of 7.80 and has posted a WHIP of 2.00.
Can the Dodgers’ extend their winning streak against a really good team, especially given the benefit of facing Jackson tonight, or was the good play against the Giants the last two nights like the Rams doing so well against the high school team that wore Indianapolis Colts’ uniforms last Sunday? We’ll see pretty soon.