This is personal for Edwin Jackson

(Susan Walsh / AP)

The first major league postseason game in Washington since the 1933 World Series doubles as the Nationals’ most important game since baseball returned. If the Nationals lose today, they will put their season in the hands of Ross Detwiler, the starter who effectively replaced Stephen Strasburg, and the result would unleash all that entails. If they win, they get two cracks at the Cardinals, at home, to advance to NLCS.

The stakes are high, and they will hand the ball to Edwin Jackson, the $11 million free agent the Nationals signed, in part, for his postseason experience. He will face the team with which he won the 2011 World Series. “It’s personal for him,” one Nationals official said pregame, in order to indicate his confidence in Jackson. They think he has the stuff, and the demeanor, to pitch big today.

“If E.J. gives up a run, he’ll come in and say, ‘Hey, that’s all they get,’ ” Detwiler said. “He’ll pump up our hitters and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to go throw up some zeros.’ ”

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