Let's give Jackson a little love

Poor Roger Bernadina.

A day after Davey Johnson starts talking about how he's planning on giving Bernadina more playing time, the Nationals outfielder goes out and strains his right hamstring on a hustle play and needs to leave the game. And it happens the day before his birthday.

Talk about tough luck.

The Nats are hopeful that Bernadina's hamstring is not severely strained and he'll be able to avoid the disabled list, but they'll have to check on him today and see how he recovers from the injury suffered last night.

If a DL stint is needed, the logical candidate to replace Bernadina on the 25-man roster would be outfielder Corey Brown, who is still tearing it up at Triple-A Syracuse, hitting .284 with 16 homers on the season.

What about Mark DeRosa? Well, he still has yet to begin his rehab assignment, and would need at least a couple days facing live pitching before the Nats would activate him from the DL.

Jackson Congratulated Toronto tall.jpgYou know what's insane? That Edwin Jackson has won just three games this season. If you still needed evidence that wins are an incredibly overrated statistic, you've got it right there.

The Nationals have had three games this season where their starter has worked eight innings or more. All three of those games have been worked by Jackson, including his eight-plus-inning, two-run performance last night.

In his 12 starts this season, the right-hander has put up a 3.02 ERA, thrown an average of just 13.82 pitches per inning (fewest in the majors by a starter) and given up 6.61 hits per nine innings (sixth-best in the National League).

He's allowed three runs or fewer in 10 of his 12 starts and hasn't had an outing shorter than five innings.

It's easy to overlook Jackson given the two guys the Nationals have at the top of their rotation. Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez have combined to win 15 games, both have sub-2.45 ERAs and respectively rank 1-2 in the National League in strikeouts.

Michael Morse dubbed Jackson "the silent assassin" of the Nats' pitching staff, and that's certainly an accurate moniker. Jackson isn't going to wow you with double-digit strikeout performances or hit triple-digits on the radar gun. But his stuff is electric, he's durable as all hell and all he does is deliver quality start after quality start.

Not bad for the No. 4 guy in the Nats' rotation.

By the way, with last night's Nationals win and Braves loss, the Nats are now three games up in the National League East. That's the largest lead they've had this season, and they're still just one game in the loss column behind the Dodgers for the best record in baseball.

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