VIERA, Fla. - Edwin Jackson should have been out of the first inning having retired the side in order. Instead, he needed to face an extra hitter when left fielder Jason Michaels dropped a lazy fly ball, and Jackson followed by giving up a two-run homer to the next batter he faced.
Jackson could've benefited from a double play on a sharply-hit ground ball hit up the middle in the fourth inning. Instead, shortstop Ian Desmond stumbled and only managed to get a force at second base by taping the bag while lying on the infield dirt.
You could look back on those situations and say that Jackson suffered from a bit of bad luck tonight. But the Nationals' right-hander isn't viewing it that way.
"Walks aren't bad luck. A home run is a home run," Jackson said in the Nats' clubhouse a bit ago. "Errors happen, mistakes happen. That's part of the game."
Jackson allowed four runs (two of which were earned), five hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings tonight, but while he allowed at least two baserunners in three of the four innings in which he appeared, he was pleased with his outing overall.
"I feel good. It's the best I've felt," Jackson said. "The results are not necessarily the best, but it's spring training. We get caught up on results in spring training when spring training is a time when you're getting ready for the season. That's what we're out there doing.
"I got out of sync a little bit in the fourth inning ... but overall, I felt pretty good."
Jackson entered the fourth having thrown 47 pitches, well short of the 75-pitch limit that he was working under tonight. But he was pulled after retiring just one hitter in the frame, and needed lefty Ross Detwiler to help bail him out of any further trouble. Detwiler retired two of the three hitters he faced in the fourth to get out of the jam.
"It can be the smallest (loss of) focus that gets you out of whack," Jackson said. "I wasn't really thinking mechanics. I know mechanics have been my whole thing this spring training, but it can be the smallest thing. Just have to come out and continue to throw strikes."
The righty didn't throw a single curveball tonight, but his slider was definitely working. Jackson punched out Tigers left fielder Andy Dirks on a nasty slider away in the first inning, and said had good feel for the pitch throughout his outing.
"The offspeed was pretty good, for the most part," Jackson said. "Like I said, it's probably the best I've felt. Wasn't the best results, but we were going (with a) higher pitch count, and as long as you can come out feeling strong and once you come out, you feel like you could continue to go if you had to, that's what we're trying to get to right now."
The Nats currently trail 6-3 here in the bottom of the eighth. Brad Lidge worked a scoreless seventh inning for Washington, looking good in the process.
Update: The Tigers beat the Nats 6-3. Back with more from the clubhouse in a bit.