Edwin Jackson on The Road To Redemption

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Edwin Jackson was picked on a lot last year. He was picked on by opposing batters and he was picked on by fans and critics alike. Was it fair that this journeyman pitcher was scrutinized by everyone who came into contact with the leather he was tossing?

Absolutely.

He signed a four year/ $52 million dollar contract. That’s a lot of money no matter how you slice it. He ranked 44th in Wins. All right, that’s not fair because the Cubs struggled a lot.

Now here’s the stinker statistic; he ranked 2nd in runs allowed by a pitcher. Was he asleep at the wheel? Did that contract go to his head? “Hey guys, check out my contract. The pensions in the bank.”

He had 135 strikeouts, the Shark had 214. That’s a huge difference to be the guy in a rotation. I’m a big fan of Complete Games for pitchers. It’s a true indication of the work ethic set forth by a pitching staff. Edwin Jackson didn’t complete any games last year.

Before I totally ream him out. I like Edwin. He’s a guy who believes in the Cub’s plans for a World Series and he wants to win with them. That being the “right” thing to say when you sign a hefty contract, I really believe him when he says,

“I’m pretty close,” he said. “The main thing is being comfortable and being able to go out and have a steady rhythm every time. Knock on wood, it’s pretty much been a spring where I’ve worked on making hitters put the ball in play, and I’ve been able to do that.”

Yesterday, Edwin showed that maybe there’s some logic and a little faith in Theo Epstein’s plan after Jackson and the Cubs beat the much hyped Angels 4-2 when he struck out six batters.

“I figured the 2013 season was one of those crazy years. I still took the field with confidence that I was going to win games, and it didn’t happen that way. My worst season, I never lost 18 games. It happens. The only thing you do is bounce back and do what you know you can do.” Jackson said.

Baseball is all about rhythm. It’s easy to get out of sync. Unlike other sports like hockey or football where all it takes is a pass on the stick or an endzone catch to change the game, a pitcher’s curveball goes straight, a sinker goes up or a – fastball makes a Rascal Scooter look like a Ferarri. When a pitcher gets in a funk-it’s deadly.

So Edwin, I owe you an apology for every negative thing I wrote because 2014 is a new season with new dreams. I have a young son at home too that believes in me and dude, when he sees you pitch the only thing he says, “Daddy, it’s Edwin Jackson!” No mention of bad games, just Edwin Jackson. With an exclamation.

I believe in second chances and I believe in Edwin Jackson. The Cubs are doing the impossible by turning around the fortunes of a franchise and Edwin Jackson is a piece of this puzzle. Jackson lost eighteen games last year, I can almost certainly guarantee that won’t happen again.

Believe It.
—Mark

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