Edwin Jackson got booed on Tuesday night as he walked alone back toward the dugout. Even in a season of lowered expectations, at a time of remarkable patience at Clark and Addison, the fans wanted more than this.
At least the ones not watching the Blackhawks begin their Stanley Cup run or waiting for the next Bulls playoff game. Most of the 31,303 had already headed toward the exits, and who knows when the Cubs are going to generate this kind of excitement again.
Near the end of a 13-7 loss to the San Diego Padres, you could hear the cheers at Wrigley Field after Bryan Bickell scored the overtime goal that beat the Minnesota Wild in Game 1 at the United Center
[Box score: Padres 13, Cubs 7]
The Cubs (10-16) believed Jackson could be a piece on their next playoff team, which begins to explain why they gave him a four-year, $52 million contract over the winter. The biggest free agent signed so far by the Theo Epstein administration is now 0-4 with a 6.27 ERA and the boos ringing in his ears.
“It’s not the first time I’ve heard it,” Jackson said. “You don’t really pay attention. I guess it affects different people different ways. But it’s the same crowd (where) if you go out and you start pitching better, they cheer.
“I probably would have booed myself, so I don’t blame them.”
Jackson closed out his first April in a Cubs uniform by lasting only 4 2/3 innings and surrendering eight runs and 11 hits to a last-place team. He hasn’t pitched more than six innings in any of his six starts, and the Cubs won only one of those games.
“We got to keep plugging away with him and get this straightened out,” manager Dale Sveum said. “It’s just a month into the season, but we got to get mechanical (stuff fixed) or whatever it is. He’s just kind of letting games slide by with one inning or one pitch here and there. He’s got it in him. The stuff and everything is there. We just got to get it out of him.”
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Jackson indicated he feels good physically. He also dismissed the idea that he’s feeling pressure to live up to that big contract. He’s not quite sure what went wrong. He took his time getting dressed, before standing up at his locker to face the media and accept full responsibility.
“It’s just disappointing to myself, to the team, to the organization and to the fans,” Jackson said. “It’s a test of character. It’s one of those times where you can either crumble and fold or you can fight and bounce back. I definitely haven’t been one to fold.”