Quick Links

Jackson finally gets run support, second win

785894.png

Jackson finally gets run support, second win

Nationals starter Edwin Jackson has gone at least six innings allowing three runs or less in seven of his 11 starts this season, including five of his last six outings. Yet on Wednesday night in the Nats 5-3 victory over the Mets - the teams 54th game of the year - Jackson earned just his second win as a Washington National. He finally enjoyed some run support that not only came early, but also late as he made mistakes seldom seen during his brief time in Washington.

Those guys put some good at-bats out there, that along with the defense helped me out tonight, he said.

They continued to pick me up and it is just a great feeling. It shows you what this team is capable of doing.

Jackson noted afterwards the lack of run support during his starts this season, but said it doesnt affect his approach inning by inning.

They arent going out and not scoring runs on purpose, it is just one of those things. The times you give up a few runs like tonight, they come back and pick you up. It is just one of those things that goes up and down.

Jackson ended up with just two earned runs through seven innings of work with three hits and four walks allowed. But through some stretches Jackson let pitches get away from him and he made mistakes that would have been more costly in lower scoring games.

Things got interesting in the fourth inning when Jackson made a throwing error that helped lead to a Mets run. New York third baseman David Wright singled on a drive to right field to lead off. With Lucas Duda at the plate Jackson decided to check Wright at first with a pickoff attempt. His throw got away from Adam LaRoche and Wright advanced all the way to third. Wright was able to score as Duda grounded to Ian Desmond for the fielders choice.

The error was actually Jacksons second of the variety in his last two games, he sent the Marlins Chris Coghlan all the way to third on May 29 in Miami. Jackson, however, assures he has no problem with throwing to first.

I definitely dont have a case of the yips, I definitely dont mind throwing the ball to first, he said. The ball just slipped, there is no excuse. I wasnt trying to do anything, the ball just got away from me.

Jackson on the year now holds a 3.11 ERA which is lower than any season mark he has posted in his career. His 2.4 walks per nine innings this season is also down from his career average of 3.6. There has been a slight improvement in his overall efficiency, something manager Davey Johnson is keen to point out.

He probably had a little bit of a reputation coming in that he threw a lot of pitches and that he was a little bit wild, but of the starters I think he has been as sharp as any of them, Johnson said. His walk total is way down, his stuff is exceptional, and hes been coming back when we really need him like today.

Jackson himself says he has been in a groove the last month or so and hopes his strong season can continue.

It is just one of those things that comes with time. For some people it happens quicker than others, but it is just one of those times where things start to click and you definitely have to take advantage of it, he said.

Quick Links

Dusty Baker on Nats clinching 2016 NL East title: 'I love this team'

Dusty Baker on Nats clinching 2016 NL East title: 'I love this team'

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Jayson Werth's wide grin belied the fact that the Washington Nationals right fielder is an old hand at clubhouse celebrations, having played on eight division-winning teams during his 14-year big league career.

Werth's latest crown came Saturday night when the Nationals clinched their third National League East title in five years, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 behind 5 1/3 scoreless innings from rookie reliever Reynaldo Lopez.

"It's never gets old," Werth said. "Never."

Stephen Drew's two-run single capped a three-run first inning for the Nationals, who return to the postseason after a one-year absence. Their win ensured a playoff berth, and they won the division about 20 minutes later when the second-place New York Mets lost to Philadelphia.

"It's such a hard thing to accomplish," Werth said. "You spent six months trying to do it. It's why you go to spring training early, so you can do everything possible to put yourself in positon to win the division."

The Nationals won the division in Dusty Baker's first season as manager. He replaced Matt Williams, who fired following a 2015 season that began with high hopes of Washington reaching the World Series for the first time in franchise history.

Baker had been out of the game for two years after being fired by the Cincinnati Reds following the 2013 season, four days after they lost to the Pirates in the NL wild card.

"That's what I came here for," Baker said, standing in a corner of the clubhouse and watching his players celebrate. "I'm telling you -- let these young men have a great time tonight, back to work tomorrow. First step in a four-step process. This step is the hardest to get. I'm just so happy for these guys. I love them. I love this team."

Lopez (4-3) came on to the start the bottom of the fourth inning with a 6-1 lead and allowed three hits while striking out five and walking one. He was removed a runner on first and one out in the ninth inning.

"He was really impressive," Werth said. "We still have some questions about our roster going into the postseason. He's a great talent and if he pitches like he did tonight he can really help us."

Marc Rzepczynski and Blake Treinen got one out each to end the game, and a pocket of Nationals' fans behind the visiting dugout cheered.

Joe Ross allowed one run and five hits over 2 2/3 innings in his second start since missing 2 months with right shoulder inflammation.

Drew's single came after Bryce Harper's sacrifice fly. Harper also drove in a run with a grounder during a three-run fourth that included three errors and increased the Nationals' lead to 6-1. Jayson Werth hit into a run-scoring forceout and Anthony Rendon had a sacrifice fly.

Wilson Ramos had three hits for the Nationals, and Drew and Werth added two each.

Quick Links

Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez killed in boating accident

usatsi_9286819.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez killed in boating accident

MIAMI (AP) -- The Miami Marlins have announced the death of ace right-hander Jose Fernandez.

The U.S. Coast Guard says Fernandez was one of three people killed in a boat crash off Miami Beach early Sunday.

The Marlins did not immediately release details, other than releasing a statement confirming the death of one of the top pitchers in baseball.

In the statement, the Marlins say they are "devastated by the tragic loss of Jose Fernandez. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time."

The Marlins' game Sunday at home against the Atlanta Braves has been cancelled.