Effectively out of available starting pitchers, the Los Angeles Dodgers turned to prospect Andre Jackson for his MLB debut in the series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Although a starter by trade, Jackson entered out of the bullpen and proceeded to turn in four scoreless innings to help the Dodgers notch a 2-1 comeback win. “It was awesome,” Jackson said of his MLB debut.
“It was everything I thought it was going to be and more. It was weird. I didn’t have the nerves I thought I was going to have, so I’m very grateful for that. But that last pitch I threw, I really felt the energy of the crowd. It really was awesome. I don’t have words.”
The 25-year-old estimated he had a group of 50 people in attendance at Dodger Stadium, which made the experience all the more memorable. Though, Jackson made it a point to not look for his family while still in the game.
“Oh man, that was the first thing I was always told was never look up when you’re pitching. I let myself do it when I was warming up before the game,” he said.
“Once I’m out there all I see is the fingers and the glove from the catcher. Actually, after I got done, Kersh was kind of the one that pointed out where the family sat and I was able to wave to them. It was pretty cool.”
While the right-hander didn’t allow a run, the appearance wasn’t all smooth sailing as Jackson issued four walks. He helped offset that by collecting six strikeouts, utilizing a devastating changeup long the way.
“I don’t want to give away my secrets, but I’m sure everybody knows the changeup is my bailout pitch,” he said. “Whenever I need to throw a strike or make a big pitch, it’s kind of what I go to. Didn’t have the greatest command, but I was able to get back in the (strike) zone with the changeup and throw fastballs when I needed to.”
How Jackson handled nerves in debut
With the Dodgers concluding their road trip in New York, Jackson arrived in Los Angeles on Sunday and was able to take the day to relax. He believes that, along with sage advice passed down from veterans, helped ease any nerves.
“We’ve got so many vets here. ‘It’s the same game,’ they said. So that was kind of my mentality going in,” Jackson explained.
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