WASHINGTON -- Edwin Jackson had resurrected his career since he took over as the Nationals' fifth starter earlier this season. Now after a string of troubling outings, the latest of which came in Friday's 7-0 loss to the Dodgers, Jackson is trying to rediscover the form that made him successful
WASHINGTON -- Edwin Jackson had resurrected his career since he took over as the Nationals' fifth starter earlier this season. Now after a string of troubling outings, the latest of which came in Friday's 7-0 loss to the Dodgers, Jackson is trying to rediscover the form that made him successful the past few months.
He gave up seven runs and recorded seven outs against Los Angeles, which included surrendering three home runs. It continued a concerning trend for Jackson through his three starts this month, in which he has surrendered seven homers and 16 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings.
"I know what I can do. I'm sure what I can do," Jackson said. "Unfortunately these last couple starts, they've been terrible. I haven't really given us a chance to win any games, which is what I'm not here to do. I have to clean it up quick, fast and in a hurry."
Washington is set with its top four starters for the postseason, so barring injury, Jackson will almost certainly not be needed as a starting pitcher. But his performance through his first eight starts with the Nats and his experience out of the bullpen made him a strong candidate to make the team's postseason roster as a reliever. That is why it's important for the Nationals to iron out his recent funk and get him back on the right track.
"He's pitched a long time," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "[Pitching coach Mike Maddux] will address it. The last start, he was throwing a lot of strikes early and then lost command of the strike zone. So it's a matter of location and a matter of height, and we're hoping to correct it."
Jackson attributed his struggles to inconsistencies in his delivery, which has led to him not being able to throw his offspeed pitches for strikes while allowing hitters to sit on his fastball. Both he and Baker sounded sure they would be able to correct the issue.
The Nationals are still searching for reliable relievers to fill out their postseason bullpen and they are hoping Jackson can be one of them.
"I haven't lost any confidence," Jackson said. "I just have to continue to work and find it super-quick. You can't continue to go out and have starts like this and be OK with it. It's not helping myself, and it's not helping the team.
"I have to lock it back in and get back to where I was before."
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamalcollier.