7:20 AM ET

If Edwin Jackson doesn’t start the American League wild-card game for the Oakland Athletics, manager Bob Melvin might have another task in mind for him.

Shortly after Jackson exercised an opt-out clause with the Washington Nationals and signed with Oakland in early June, Melvin entrusted him with taking the lineup card to home plate. The A’s reeled off six consecutive victories against the Tigers and Indians, and Jackson had a semi-regular gig as the team’s resident good-luck charm and minister of outreach to the men in blue.

“That was a first,” Jackson said. “I just laughed. I was new still, and he said, ‘E.J., you’re taking out the lineup.’ I was like, ‘For real?’ And he said, ‘For real.’ Then we won, and he didn’t even ask for the next five days. He just looked at me. I go out there with the umpires, and I tell them, ‘This is what happens when you’re a player-coach.'”

When he isn’t making small talk with Joe West, Tom Hallion and C.B. Bucknor, Jackson is helping the A’s reach the playoffs and making a statement on behalf of journeymen pitchers on the wrong side of 30. It’s a big

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