WASHINGTON (BaseballSTL) -- When the Cards hit the field at 12 p.m. St. Louis time in Washington on Wednesday, they’ll see quite a familiar face on the mound for the Nationals.
Edwin Jackson spent quite amount of time for the Cardinals last season en route to a World Series championship. He made four starts for them in the postseason. Jackson had a 5.60 ERA in 17 and two-thirds innings during the playoffs.
Now they’ll see him in Game 3 of the NLDS at Nationals Park.
This is going to be a chess match beyond all chess matches because, obviously, the Cards know him. And Jackson knows the Cards. Jackson knows the Cards know him. And vice versa. Kinda cool, huh?
I asked multiple players and the managers about it and got an interesting take from them. The Nationals’ Davey Johnson says when he played, and moved teams, he always looked at it as advantage to the team facing the familiar pitcher. So, that would mean, advantage Cards here.
But Johnson also went on to say that each day is different and you have no idea what’s going to happen. Jackson could be especially sharp and dominate St. Louis. It’s impossible to tell. But I found it quite interesting that Johnson admitted, overall, that the Cards would have an advantage because they know Jackson so well.
Others disagreed with that assessment. Players believe the familiarity goes both ways. While, yes, the Redbirds know what Jackson is about based on what he throws and when he likes to throw them it is also true on the other side. Jackson knows what the strengths and weaknesses are for the Cards’ offense.
What do certain guys like to hit? Where do they struggle? Are they overly aggressive on certain counts? Are they patient?
Jackson isn’t dumb. He paid a lot of attention to that when he was in St. Louis. Seriously. The man has pitched for seven teams by the age of 29. Seven.
Dodgers (2003-2005), Rays (2006-2008), Tigers (2009), White Sox and Diamondbacks (2010), White Sox again and the Cardinals (2011) and then finally the Nationals (2012).
That’s the definition of being around the block. When you are that well traveled it makes a lot of sense to pay attention to all your teammates. You never know who you’re going to have to know and face in the future.
Kyle Lohse, who pitches tomorrow in Game Four, has also pitched for a lot of teams in his career. He says when you go up against former teammates who know you very well you go in with a game plan but expect to adjust in the middle of the game because you have to see what they’re trying to do again you.
Sure, that’s something you’re doing on a consistent basis...regardless of your opponent. But when you’re facing former teammates, it’s even more pronounced.
The Cardinals faced Edwin Jackson twice this season. The first time, on August 30th, he went eight innings and allowed just one unearned run on four hits. Pretty good, huh?
Well, he wasn’t so fortunate the next time he saw the Cards. On Septbember 28th, Jackson lasted just one and a third innings and gave up nine runs (eight earned). Not good.
An obvious prediction would be to think you’ll see something in the middle in Game Three. The Cards were beat pretty badly in August but made some pretty good adjustments and took advantage of Jackson’s mistakes in September. Now it’s Jackson’s turn to make adjustments. The Nationals can’t afford to have him hit around like he did last time out.
It’s a chess match, all right. The Cards know. Jackson knows. The Cards know Jackson knows. And Jackson knows the Cards know.
Should be fun to watch.