Edwin Jackson covered his mouth and screamed into his glove.
A few boos became the soundtrack as Jackson walked off the mound late Saturday afternoon. But Cubs fans have seen this before, and they didn’t seem to have the energy to really pump up the volume. Plus, it’s tourist season at Wrigley Field, with a big crowd (36,806) watching the Atlanta Braves cruise to an 11-6 victory.
“It was just embarrassing,” Jackson said afterward inside the interview room/dungeon. “Flat out. No other way to put it.”
Jackson couldn’t finish the fourth inning, and the Cubs have struggled to find any sort of rhythm or consistency with their $52 million pitcher. This comes at a time when the organization can point to its “pitching infrastructure” and success rate with “change-of-scenery” guys.
During his postgame news conference, manager Rick Renteria was asked if the Cubs would consider finding another role for Jackson and bumping him from the rotation.
“I don’t think that’s anything we’re even ... I would say the answer is no. Right now, no,” Renteria said.
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The Braves (51-43) absolutely buried Jackson, who gave up three homers, including one to Braves pitcher Mike Minor. Jackson left a bases-loaded jam for Carlos Villanueva, and Justin Upton slammed a three-run double into left field, making it a 9-3 game.
“Your team does a great job of battling back, and you continuously go out and give up the lead,” Jackson said. “It’s pretty much just unacceptable. It’s definitely one of those games to put way back in the back of the memory bank.”
Jackson can unplug during the All-Star break, but he’s now 5-10 with a 5.64 ERA — the year after leading the majors with 18 losses. Jackson has gone more than six innings only three times in 19 starts this season, and the last time that happened was May 17.
Forget about leading the rotation with Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel now pitching for the Oakland A’s. The Cubs (40-53) would settle for a decent No. 5 starter.
“You got two options,” Jackson said. “Either you can accept it and you can fold. Or you can take it as a slap in the face and do something about it. We have a long second half, and there’s definitely a lot of baseball left. I feel like I can definitely turn things around (and) have the whole first half forgotten about.”