Edwin Jackson will be available out of the bullpen in Game 5 of the National League Division Series on Friday night, but only if the game goes into extra innings, Nationals Manager Davey Johnson said.
Jackson last pitched in Game 4 on Wednesday tossing only 68 pitches over five inconsistent innings. His command was off, and he allowed four runs on eight hits. Friday would be his regular throw day. Starter Jordan Zimmermann appeared out of the bullpen in Game 4 on Thursday, his throw day, and provided one of the most electric relief appearance this season.
But Jackson, unlike Zimmermann, won’t be needed during the game’s first nine innings, Johnson said. In Game 4, four of the Nationals’ five right-handed relievers were used and Johnson wanted to stay away from most of them on Thursday. He needed a seventh inning reliever to bridge starter Ross Detwiler to the back end of the bullpen, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen, so he turned to Zimmermann. Johnson rested Christian Garcia and Ryan Mattheus on Thursday, and had Craig Stammen warming in the sixth but didn’t use him in the game.
Jackson, the lone Nationals starter with playoff experience before this October, is slated to start Game 2 on Monday of the National League Championship Series should the Nationals advance. So if he isn’t used in Friday’s game, Jackson would still have to throw to stay on his regular five-day schedule.