Jackson remains the same, nets first win in 53 days

Nationals right-handed starter Edwin Jackson had not recorded a win in more than a month and a half, but he didn’t let that frazzle him.

On April 14, Jackson through a complete game, two-hitter to subdue the Cincinnati Reds, 4-1.
Since then, Jackson threw five straight no decisions, then lost back-to-back games at Philadelphia and at Miami.

So Wednesday, when Jackson went seven innings and threw 100 pitches, only allowing two earned runs, the victory tasted even sweeter in a 5-3 dispatch of the New York Mets.

“It has felt like awhile, but as long as you continue to go out and give your team a chance to win,” Jackson said. “Every game we have been battling. We are not going out there and not scoring on purpose. As long as we continue to pitch and play great defense we will continue to win ball games.”

Jackson said he went into the game thinking about the 12-inning win Tuesday, a game that saw the Nationals have to use six relievers.

“As a starter, our mindset is to go as long as we can, anyways,” Jackson said. “But when you have a game like you did last night, it is that extra incentive to help those guys out that have been doing it all year. it definitely comes back and helps you in the long run.”

Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann seem to get a lot of the headlines for their starting pitching prowess and win totals. But don’t forget about Jackson. He is the $11 million man with the world series ring.

Oh yes, that Edwin Jackson.

“He is like the silent assassin of the pitching staff,” right fielder Michael Morse said. “When you are pitching behind those two guys (Strasburg and Gonzalez) you are always going to hear about what they were doing. Edwin always comes in and puts out solid starts. Sometimes it is good to be behind guys like that.”

First baseman Adam LaRoche is all too familiar with Jackson, having played alongside the veteran while with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010.

“He is a gamer,” LaRoche said. “I played with him for a year and saw the same thing. He wants to go nine innings every night. His confidence carries him a long way. On a night when he may not have his best stuff, he can almost will himself to get it done. He is that competitive out there. And when he has got his stuff it’s obviously really good.”

One part of the reason why Jackson remains steady is his demeanor. He doesn’t let a two-base throwing error that he uncorked rattle him. Manager Davey Johnson said early in the season when he asked Jackson to get his cleats, there was a moment where Jackson had to hurry. But the next game Jackson made sure Johnson knew he had his cleats ready and where he could see them if he was called into the game, so he wouldn’t have to scramble.

Johnson said that is what he likes about Jackson. He never alters his demeanor day-to-day. He said Jackson just got a little more intense on game day.

And despite a span of 53 days without a victory, Jackson remained the same. Now, he is back in the win column.

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