As someone whose podcast is named Three-Inning Save, I have a soft spot for Andre Jackson, who racked up three-inning saves at a rapid rate during his time with the Dodgers. His 2023 season saw more of this, but also a new opportunity in Pittsburgh.
Jackson made his first opening day roster, serving as a long man in the Dodgers bullpen. Right away came a perfect opportunity, entering with a seven-run lead in the seventh inning on April 1, in the third game of the season. He allowed only a hit and someone reached on an error, earning the Dodgers’ first save of the season, one of the three-inning variety.
His time with the Dodgers this season was bookended by three-inning saves, which feels right. The other save came on June 10 in Philadelphia, striking out three to finish off another blowout win.
“Pitching is all confidence. The more you trust your stuff, the better it’s going to be. The big deal was getting the fastball back to being a really good throw, not trying to be too fine with it, being aggressive in the zone, and challenging guys,” Jackson said the morning after his first save of the season. “Every pitcher will tell you when the fastball is going, their life is much easier.”
Finding the strike zone was key for Jackson after 2022, when he walked 17.2 percent of batters faced in the minors. His walk rate on the season in the majors in 2023 was 8.6 percent, and with the Dodgers he walked only three of 79 batters faced (3.8 percent).
The problem for Jackson came in his five appearances in between the saves. He allowed 13 runs in 11⅔ innings, as many of those strikes were getting hit. On April 14 against the Cubs, Jackson allowed four home runs in two innings, just the third Dodgers reliever to allow four home runs in a game and the only Los Angeles relief pitcher to do so.
Jackson did the up-and-down between Los Angeles and Oklahoma City in 2023, getting optioned to Triple-A four times by early June. He was designated for assignment on June 20 — to make room on the 40-man roster for Ryan Brasier, who worked out swimmingly for Los Angeles — then got traded to the Pirates for cash on June 25.
With the Pirates, Jackson finally got a chance to start in the majors, doing so seven times for Pittsburgh. In all, Jackson pitched in 12 games for Pittsburgh, putting up a 4.33 ERA and 4.61 FIP in 43⅔ innings, with 41 strikeouts and 19 walks. He earned his first major league win on August 30, striking out seven in a start against the Royals.
Stats: 6.62 ERA, 7 games, 17⅔ IP, 16 K, 3 BB, 1.415 WHIP with Dodgers
Salary: $722,500, pro-rated for his time in the majors
Game of the year
On June 10 in Philadelphia, Jackson earned his second three-inning save of the season, tossing three scoreless innings to finish off a 9-0 win over the Phillies.
Jackson pitched in 14 games in parts of three seasons with the Dodgers, and four of them were three-inning saves.
Jackson was designated for assignment by the Pirates on Thursday when Pittsburgh re-signed Andrew McCutchen.