After Jordan Zimmermann’s star turn out of the Nationals’ bullpen Thursday night, rotation mate Edwin Jackson will have a chance to contribute in Game 5.
Manager Davey Johnson said Jackson is available out of the bullpen, though not in the same role Zimmermann filled in Game 4.
“He would be somebody that I would use if we went past nine innings,” Johnson said of Jackson, who threw 68 pitches Wednesday in his Game 3 loss. “That’s the only reason.”
Like Zimmermann yesterday, today would be Jackson’s normal “throw day” for an extended bullpen session between starts, so he might as well get those pitches in during the game if a need arises.
Jackson won’t be called upon for the sixth or seventh inning because Jackson feels comfortable going back to his usual “bridge” relievers — Christian Garcia, Ryan Mattheus, Craig Stammen — to get the game to the eighth inning should Gio Gonzalez need a pickup.
“Yesterday with my bullpen kind of overused on the day before, I really needed somebody for that seventh inning,” Johnson said. “The bridge, I didn’t want to go to some of the guys out there, certainly Christian Garcia I didn’t want to go to. Mattheus had been working through a lot, throwing a lot of pitches, and same with Stammen. So I really needed [Zimmermann] for that one inning.”
Johnson also said before the game that Zimmermann would get the ball Sunday to open the NLCS against the Giants if the Nationals advance.