After throwing four scoreless innings in his debut against the Pirates back on August 16 in Los Angeles, Jackson took over for opener Brusdar Graterol on Friday against the Rockies and lasted 4-2/3 innings, surrendering one earned run on four hits and two walks.
Granted, the Pirates and the Rockies are among the worst offensive teams on the road, perhaps making fans wonder if Jackson’s appearances against these two squads were by design. Regardless, over two appearances, he now has the equivalent of about one full MLB game under his belt as far as innings pitched go.
If there’s one glaring weakness for Jackson, it’s been his control. This is an issue we’ve been discussing for a while here at TBPC, as he’s a converted collegiate outfielder still trying to hone the command on his breaking arsenal. The six walks over his two major league appearances this year aren’t pretty, but there have been brief flashes of his changeup showing plus-plus qualities.
According to Brooks Baseball, Jackson has mixed his pitches well. He has thrown his fastball 44 percent of the time, while using the change 38 percent and a slider and curve for the remainder. Although he’s touched higher than 95 MPH with his four-seam, he’s mostly sat right around 92 MPH.
Throwing against Colorado and Pittsburgh is one thing but pitching against the Giants with a division title on the line is another. As September rolls in, it should be interesting to watch how the Dodgers proceed, especially if they’re limited to just four proven starting pitchers the rest of the way through the regular season.
Speaking of September, the active roster expands to 28 players next week, which will finally give the team some flexibility after often making personnel moves on a nightly basis. One would think that both Jackson and Mitch White would be considered for spots, but there are two decent lefty bats lurking at Triple-A in the forms of Matt Beaty and Gavin Lux.
One caveat of 2021 roster expansion is that all MLB teams will be permitted to carry up to five players on their respective taxi squads, providing even more roster flexibility in the event of injuries or COVID-related absences.
Besides watching the initial roster moves Los Angeles makes on Wednesday, all those close to the Dodgers will continue to monitor the recovery of lefty Clayton Kershaw.
After completing a 20-pitch fastball-only bullpen on Tuesday, Kershaw threw another 30 pitches ahead of the opener against the Rockies on Friday, this time mixing in sliders and curveballs.
Depending on how his arms feels, there might be another bullpen for Kershaw as early as Monday.