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Elephant Rumblings: Rookie Zach Jackson becoming key reliever for A’s

MLB news roundup

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MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, Athletics Nation!

27-year-old reliever Zach Jackson made his MLB debut on April 9 against the Phillies. He led off with a walk before inducing a 6-4-3 double play and finishing off a 1-2-3 inning with his first big league strikeout. He’s built a pretty stellar line through 19 appearances since then:

  • Jackson, MLB 2022: 2.89 ERA, 18⅔ ip, 25 Ks, 12 BB, 0 HR, 2.50 FIP

The rookie righty still has all three options left, but if he keeps pitching the way he is they may never be needed. Matt Kawahara at The San Francisco Chronicle remarked that Jackson “epitomizes Oakland’s fledgling bullpen” in a piece published on Saturday following his latest successful high leverage appearance on Friday, in which Jackson got the last out in the sixth inning and then shut down Taylor Ward, Mike Trout, and Shohei Ohtani with just 11 pitches in the seventh, helping the A’s along to a 4-2 win.

Jackson struck out Trout and Ohtani, two of the game’s biggest stars, showing a lot of grit and resilience versus Shohei by throwing two curveballs after falling behind 3-1. The first was a whiff, the second a called strike. That curve has produced a 38.5% swing-and-miss rate so far this season.

Jackson projected growing confidence in comments to Kawahara:

“It’s obviously nice to see. There’s no way to figure out how good your stuff is unless you’re facing the best of the best.”

Jackson has been tough to hit for right- and left-handed batters alike, holding them to averages of .177 and .185, respectively. This 2020 minor league Rule 5 draft pick is panning out spectacularly so far—keep on dealing, Zach!

A’s Coverage:

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A’s-M’s scheduled starters.

Return of the Jedouble.

Trout hits a milestone in latest series.

Roster moves! (does the moonwalk)

Kudos to Jake Lemoine for some fine relief after Frankie’s exit on Saturday.

Langeliers topping the A’s MiLB bombers.

Congrats to Mitch Myers on being Friday’s PotD. This Stockton-born boy salutes you!

A holler to Oller! Get that groove back.

Welcome back, Bob!

Prince Fergie (did I make that up?) enshrined.

A’s-mazing fan art from @GuySliwinski!