Edwin Jackson still searching for his rhythm with Cubs

Edwin Jackson still searching for his rhythm with Cubs
August 24, 2013, 12:15 am
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Tony Andracki

SAN DIEGO -- This isn't what the Cubs had in mind when they signed Edwin Jackson to a four-year, $52 million deal last winter.

Jackson came up to the plate with nobody out in the first inning Friday night, having already been spotted six runs on the first eight batters of the game.

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From that moment on, the Padres out-scored the Cubs 8-0 en route to an 8-6 victory in front of 23,561 at Petco Park.

"They beat our butts the last eight innings," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.

The Cubs sent 11 men to the plate in the first inning, racking up six runs on an RBI single from three-hitter Dioner Navarro, a three-run homer from Nate Schierholtz and a two-run triple from Brian Bogusevic, knocking San Diego starter Edinson Volquez from the game after just 2/3 of an inning.

But they left the bases loaded that inning and couldn't push across another run the rest of the game, leaving nine guys on base in the process. Five Padres relievers combined to allow just five hits and one walk in the final 8 1/3 innings while the San Diego offense caught back up.

"It was just a real [bleep] job of holding the lead," Jackson said bluntly amid a quiet, sullen locker room. "Your team goes out and gives you six runs. Any starter we have -- we all feel the same way -- if you can't hold a six-run lead, it's real disappointing.

"The guys come out in the first inning and they do a great job of giving me enough run support for what you should be able to go through the game and preserve the win. You don't get that done. It's just a terrible job."

After facing the minimum through three innings, the wheels came off for Jackson in the fourth as he gave up six runs over the next three frames on eight hits, including two triples, a double and a home run.

"You can't throw big-league hitters balls down the middle," Sveum said simply.

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Jackson was rumored to be close to a deal with the Padres last December, but wound up signing with the Cubs in the biggest contract handed out by this rebuilt front office so far.

Theo Epstein and Co. thought they were getting a 29-year-old pitcher that carried a career 70-71 record with a 4.40 ERA while stringing together six straight seasons of 31 or more starts.

Jackson's ERA inflated to 5.00 after Friday's loss to go with a 7-13 record and a 1.43 WHIP. After a rough start to the season, he looked to be turning the corner with a 3-1 record and 1.83 ERA in five July starts, but has since given up 17 earned runs and 32 hits in 22 August innings.

Though he didn't walk a batter Friday, he attributed the lack of execution to poor location.

"I pretty much got beat from two breaking balls," he said. "I left too good of pitches in the zone to hit long balls with men on base. That pretty much sums it up.

"For me not to come out and be able to hold a lead, that's just disappointing. That's just a terrible job. Flat out. No other way to put it."