(AP) — Superb pitching from their rotation is a big reason the Washington Nationals are tied for the most wins in the majors.
The well-traveled Edwin Jackson is among those impressive starters.
Jackson looks to build on a brilliant performance by helping the Nationals complete a sweep of this four-game series with the Houston Astros on Thursday night.
Washington (10-3) is tied with Texas for the most wins in baseball, and that’s thanks in large part to a major league-low 1.65 ERA from a rotation consisting of Jackson (1-0, 2.57 ERA), Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler.
“No one wants to be the weakest link. And when you have a staff like that, to where it’s competitive but it’s fun, it’s always great,” Jackson said.
Jackson, a veteran of seven teams in nine-plus seasons, didn’t look like a weak link Saturday, striking out nine in a 92-pitch two-hitter in a 4-1 victory over Cincinnati.
The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.65 ERA in five games – four starts – against Houston.
The Nationals got another impressive performance on the mound in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Houston (4-8). Zimmermann and two relievers combined on a six-hitter before Jayson Werth drew a bases-loaded walk, and Wilson Ramos connected for a sacrifice fly for the go-ahead run in the eighth.
“A win’s a win, no matter how we get it,” Zimmermann said. “We’re getting in the late innings the last couple games, which makes it extra exciting.”
While pitching has been key for the Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman has collected five hits and two RBIs in this series. Producing against the Astros at home isn’t anything new for the third baseman, who’s hitting .406 with five doubles, three homers and 14 RBIs in his last 16 matchups in the nation’s capital.
Zimmerman is 3 for 7 with a homer off Bud Norris, Thursday’s scheduled starter.
The Nationals have won 10 of 12 at home against Houston, and Norris (0-0, 3.46 ERA) isn’t surprised by Washington’s overall success in 2012.