Some brief news and notes from Nationals manager Davey Johnson’s pregame news conference. Edwin Jackson will be available to pitch tonight in Game 5 of an NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals. No reason to hold anything back at this point.
Jackson will not quite play the role Jordan Zimmermann did on Thursday in Game 4 where he served as a bridge to setup man Tyler Clippard and closer Drew Storen. Instead, Jackson will be used if the game goes extra innings and Johnson needs to buy a few. It was scheduled to be Jackson’s between-start throw day in the bullpen anyway.
Zimmermann was electric in his one inning of work in Game 4 in the seventh inning when he struck out the side. But he is still slated to start Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Sunday against the San Francisco Giants - if the Nats win Friday.
Johnson feels a little more comfortable tonight using his normal middle relievers like Christian Garcia, Craig Stammen and Ryan Mattheus, who all saw a lot of work in the first three games against St. Louis.
Johnson says Sean Burnett, one of the team’s best relievers the last three seasons, is healthy. He did have arm pain in September, and Johnson backed off using him for a time. But he’s stayed away from Burnett save for a Game 2 appearance where he struggled with three earned runs allowed on four hits in 2/3 of an inning. The matchups against the Cardinals just favor right-handed relievers.
Michael Morse, the cleanup batter and left fielder, dealt with a bone bruise in his left hand and a torn sheath in his wrist in August and September. But Johnson says others than treatment with trainer Lee Kuntz, Morse is fine. But he is also 3-for-15 through the first four games with no extra-base hits.
“I think ownership and front office people are in worse shape than we are,” Johnson cracked. “One’s got a bad foot and the other’s got a bad hip. They’re falling apart. But we’re hanging in there.”
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