In a back to the future type of move, the last time Edwin Jackson was in a Washington Nationals uniform was on October 12th of 2012, and former manager Davey Johnson declared pre-game that he would not go to Edwin Jackson as a reliever — and then he did. Jackson walked the first man he saw in that 7th inning in the decisive game five of the NLDS, and that lead-off walk eventually scored making that 6-3 lead a tighter 6-4 lead. Jackson was on a 1-year contract in 2012 with the Nationals, and ran the spectrum of very good to poor that season as he finished with a 4.03 ERA that season. That 12th day in October still haunts Nationals fans to this day. The Nationals just saw Drew Storen yesterday in a different uniform. Today they will see Jackson in a Nationals uniform, and he was complicit in that loss like many Nationals players were in game 5. Who would have thought Jackson would return in a Nationals uniform especially one with strong post-season aspirations. There is an irony here that you can find in the weavings of what makes up a team and each player on the roster and how players become part of the team.
Jackson would wear 5 other team’s MLB uniforms and 6 Minor League uniforms after he departed the Nationals in 2012, and now he is back with the Nationals today coming full circle in an occupation that gives multiple opportunities to some like the cat who has 9 lives only Jackson has been with 12 MLB teams under 15 different managers which included one manager who was the same guy, Joe Maddon, who had Jackson with two different teams.
Jackson was unconditionally released by the Baltimore Orioles last month and Mike Rizzo signed him to a Minor Legue deal where Jackson has pitched well in a small sample size of 20 1/3 innings for the Syracuse Chiefs in Triple-A. Dusty Baker was almost giddy upon hearing Rizzo signed Jackson when he said that “[Edwin Jackson] told me he always wanted to play for me.” Being nostalgic is great and who knows when Jackson told Dusty Baker that, but the dose of reality that comes back to you when you go out on a limb is what Dusty has said in the past “this is no try-out camp” has that same feel here, and Edwin Jackson just happened to be at the right spot on the right day this time with very limited options were available to the team after starting pitcher Joe Ross went down with a severe elbow injury and the choices were from a pool of Jacob Turner, A.J. Cole, Erick Fedde and Edwin Jackson. Our sources said that it was Dusty Baker who chose Jackson over Jacob Turner to start tonight.
As mentioned, Jackson has pitched for a dozen MLB teams in his career, one team short of Octavio Dotel’s baker’s dozen (13) of teams, and EJax has had the glory of that 2009 All-Star season when he played against Ryan Zimmerman 8 years ago. Could there be a similar resurrection here for Jackson like Zim has seen? We could find out tonight if this will be a scene out of Disneyland which is just outside the front door of the hotel where the Nationals are staying. Sprinkle on some pixie dust and see if EJax has some magic in his right arm and really gets Dusty Baker to a higher level of giddiness if that is possible.
Edwin Jackson will square off against right-hander Jesse Chavez of the Los Angeles Angels. Chavez had some of his best years for the Oakland A’s will turn 34-years-old next month and has struggled this season with an ERA that has been over 5+ for a chunk of the season and is currently at 4.99 in his 19 appearances.
This west coast start time for tonight’s game is after 10pm in the east. The Nationals arrived in California before 7pm local time last night. The schedulers finally did the Nats a “solid” with the scheduling in this two-game series and the Nationals will get a day-off on Thursday before a weekend series in Arizona and another day-off on Monday after returning back home for a six-game homestand.
After tonight’s game, there will only be 69 games remaining on the Nationals’ schedule, and a little more than 12 full days left before the July 31st trade deadline. Mike Rizzo pulled off one trade this week already and tonight’s game has a large impact as to whether or not Mike Rizzo needs to add another starter via a trade.
Speaking of trades, the Angels and Nationals have come together recently on trades for Yunel Escobar and Danny Espinosa. The Angels also signed Ben Revere and Yusmeiro Petit in the off-season as free agents, and Revere was non-tendered by the Nationals. Espinosa was just designated for assignment (DFA) by the Angels coincidentally over the weekend after batting just .162 for the season. One other familiar face in the Angels organization is Alex Meyer who was a 1st round draft pick of the Nationals.
Yes, it is like back to the future!
The future will also require several roster moves today as Mike Rizzo activates the newly acquired Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson onto the active roster along with Edwin Jackson. These roster moves will require a 40-man roster maneuver only for Jackson. As it turns out, Rizzo created 2 spots on the 40-man roster yesterday for Doolittle and Madson simultaneously when Blake Treinen was traded back to Oakland and the other spot was opened up when Joe Ross was moved to the 60-day DL. The Nationals will have to move three players off of the active roster, and two of the moves will be Trevor Gott and Austin Adams. The third roster spot will probably come from a DFA of Jacob Turner which would also solve the last 40-man spot needed also. as the DFA automatically takes the player off of the 40-man roster.
Stay tuned on the roster moves. The Nationals will be able to employ a designated hitter for this 2-game series in an American League stadium.
On the WAR front, Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper have skyrocketed up the list on Fangraphs:
Washington Nationals at Los Angeles of Anaheim Angels
Stadium: Angel Stadium of Anaheim, 2000 Gene Autry Way. Anaheim, CA 92806
1st Pitch: 10:07 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, FOX Sports West, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® (Internet 869)
Line-ups (subject to change without notice):
- Brian Goodwin CF
- Wilmer Difo SS
- Bryce Harper RF
- Ryan Zimmerman 1B
- Daniel Murphy 2B
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Adam Lind DH
- Matt Wieters C
- Chris Heisey LF
Edwin Jackson RHP