Even though he was probably a long shot to grab the Cubs’ fifth starter spot, Edwin Jackson did not help his cause on Monday against the Padres.
Getting the start yesterday, things actually got off on the right foot. Jackson pitched a 1-2-3 first inning and seemed to be pitching at a quicker pace, according to Jesse Rogers.
But then the wheels fell off, as Starlin Castro committed an error at short and Jackson fielded a comebacker and threw it into center field. He then proceeded to give up a home run to Will Middlebrooks, and things were looking a lot like last year.
His day ended with a line of four runs (albeit unearned), four hits and one strikeout in two innings. After his outing he had to field questions about his future with the team.
“I just worry about what I have control over,” Jackson told Patrick Mooney. “And I definitely don’t have control over whether I leave this organization or whether I don’t leave this organization. The only thing I have control over is going out on the field and getting outs.”
It would be a shock if Jackson ends up in the Cubs’ rotation at this point. For what it’s worth, Mooney says it would be a “major upset” if the final starting spot doesn’t go to Travis Wood.
I’m not as confident in that happening. We’re not far removed from when it sounded like Wood would likely be traded away.
I wouldn’t be too upset if Wood wins the job, but I’d rather see Jacob Turner get a shot, assuming he shows promise this spring.
Aside from the rough second inning of yesterday’s 6-3 loss, there were some bright spots. Mike Olt, who is trying to come north as the Cubs’ starting third baseman (until Kris Bryant is called up), homered and walked.
I’d really like to see Olt succeed in Chicago. It’ll be interesting to see if he can stick around even after Bryant gets the call — filling it at third, first, and maybe outfield.
Miguel Montero hit his first home run of the spring and Kris Bryant reached base twice in two at-bats.
On the mound, Kyle Hendricks pitched two scoreless innings, and Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, C.J. Edwards and Justin Grimm all added an inning without giving up a run. Edwards, the Cubs’ top pitching prospect, by all accounts looked sharp. He struck out two.
Maddon taking blame for Baez
Javier Baez is off to a tough start this spring (as are a number of other hitters), but manager Joe Maddon is trying to absorb some of the blame.
“He’s thinking too much,” Maddon told Paul Sullivan. “He’s getting a lot of information from all of us, and I think at some point, sometimes it’s our fault. I just want to leave him alone and let him play.”
Certainly not a sure-thing to hold down the starting second base job out of Spring Training, Baez is still “definitely a very, very strong candidate for that position,” Maddon said.
I’m not hitting the panic button yet on Baez. Maddon has previously said players will have to earn their playing time. But it’s interesting to watch Maddon motivate people. I really hope it will have an effect on Baez.
* If you’re mildly panicking because you haven’t seen Jorge Soler’s name in the lineup for the past couple days, don’t worry. It’s part of the Cubs’ plan to ease him into Spring Training to avoid leg injuries, according to Carrie Muskat. And speaking of leg injuries, Tsuyoshi Wada, who is battling for the fifth starting job, may be held back by some leg discomfort, Muskat says.
* Designated hitters in the National League? Talks on the subject between MLB and the players’ union may intensify, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. With the two leagues split at 15 teams apiece, I think it makes sense to make things universal. And because the players’ union will never agree to get rid of the DH, I’d rather seen it it both leagues, as opposed to having a split. I don’t think it would “ruin” the game — I think I would actually prefer it.