Edwin Jackson pitched for 12 major league teams before joining the Athletics, but it's taken him less than a week to find a home in Oakland.
The 34-year-old delivered his second strong start for the A's Saturday in a 7-2 win over the Indians. Jackson allowed two runs on just two hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out six.
The veteran right-hander isn't taking this opportunity for granted. It looked like his big league career might be over when he started the season in the minors with Washington. Jackson was coming off a 2016 season that saw him struggle to a 5.21 ERA between the Nationals and Orioles. In 2015, his ERA was even worse, an astronomical 5.89. But Jackson never lost confidence in his abilities.
"If that were the case, I would've gone home a long time ago," he said. "I know what I'm able to do. Regardless of how my career has gone, I know when I go out and pitch like I can pitch the things that I'm able to do. Honestly, when I can look in the mirror and say that I can't do it anymore, I'll go home. I'm not playing for the money. I'm not playing for anything else but to come have fun. I've been blessed in my career. I've made enough money to have my family set and now I'm just having fun."
A's fans are certainly having fun watching. In two starts, Jackson has recorded a 2.13 ERA and 0.63 WHIP, striking out 13 batters in 12 2/3 innings.
"It's like he's got three different fastballs," A's manager Bob Melvin marveled. "One of them cuts a little bit, one of them sinks a little bit, and a four-seamer that pulls out 96 when he wants it. (He throws) enough sliders and changeups - I thought a better changeup (Saturday) even than last time. It's a really good look."
"When I was younger, I threw hard, but I was just a thrower," Jackson explained. "In today's game, if you're consistently throwing one pitch that does one thing, with how good these hitters are, it's hard to get outs."
The A's had won a season-high six games in a row before Sunday's loss and own the sixth best record in the American League at 46-39. Jackson has already been an important stabilizing factor in the starting rotation, which has suffered numerous injuries.
"I definitely feel like this is a special group," he said. "I feel like this team is underrated. This team can do a lot of special things. I feel like the attitudes that these guys have, they know it. So it's not a surprise to anyone in this clubhouse what they can do. I'm just happy to be a part of it."