Kyle Hendricks Experience is Perfect, Edwin’s Got It Under Control and Bryant Goes Yard Twice

Chicago Cubs, Edwin Jackson, Las Vegas

A funny thing happens in spring training baseball. Sometimes, stars emerge where they least expect it. Take for example, Edwin Jackson.

Mr. Edwin Jackson, that unassuming ace of a couple of years ago showed Joe Maddon and the pitching coaches why he should really be considered for the number five spot in the highly competitive Chicago Cubs’ rotation. Yesterday, he kept the Brewer’s at bay and kept the ball under control. In many ways, yesterday was a showcase of a more mature “crafty” veteran pitcher. The numbers weren’t amazing, but it was a true workhorse outing with 51 pitches and 29 strikes.

“That mindframe — when you’re battling yourself and the hitters — more times than not, it doesn’t work out for you,” Jackson said. “The game’s hard enough as it is, trying to get hitters out. You’re making it harder on yourself.”

Edwin Jackson is a veteran and he might surprise some folks this spring. One thing I’ve admired about him is his ability to be accountable for his mistakes. A young Cubs squad needs that kind of leadership going into the season.

Although criticism of Jackson’s performance these past couple of years has been fierce, I don’t believe the Cubs should trade him. The Cubs still need him and he may be able to teach the bullpen about control.

“The big thing with me is if a guy had been hurt, then you have to be a little more concerned,” Maddon said. “But he was not hurt. And for that reason I’m encouraged. Sometimes you have a little bit of a lull and have to figure things out.”

Yesterday’s Cubs also put on display the talent the organization has in Kyle Hendricks (the Kyle Hendricks Experience) and of course, Kris Bryant.

In a 3-1 win over the Athletics, Hendricks was perfect through five innings. Not being outdone with the spotlight, Kris Bryant took the cover off the ball twice despite being scratched for a sore shoulder.

“I’d rather hit two home runs any day than pitch five perfect, I know that,” Hendricks said. “I’ll take what I did.”

So, the competition continues today as Travis Wood takes to the mound against Johnny Cueto.

Believe it

3 comments

  1. Dave · March 15, 2015

    This is the kind of Jackson pitching performance I have been looking for. Crafty is a good word.

    Too often Jackson has been trying to heat his way to victory, and loses most of his control.

    I have often said that Jackson should not be afraid of taking something ‘off’ some strategically placed pitches. It would be a key for him having controlled placement.

    Sandy Koufax came up as a wild heater. He took some off some pitches, some of the time, and it changed everything. His repertoire included fastballs from 75 mph to 100. His sweeping curve was also delivered with varying speeds.

    Koufax became a great ‘pitch placement’ pitcher once he decided to stop trying to throw only heat.

    He was once asked after that time what else contributed to his turnaround. He answered, when he stopped trying to get everybody out with heat, and allowed the batter to hit the ball.

    Like

    • Mark Gauthier · March 15, 2015

      It’s funny you mentioned Koufax. If there was one player I would have loved to see was him. I dare say, Jackson is one of the cleverest or as you say crafty pitchers in the game. For some reason, his head hasn’t been there for a couple of years.

      Like

      • Dave · March 15, 2015

        I have vivid memories of watching him. My Father used to characterize him as an artist. Vin Scully was sometimes even amazed by the varying speeds. Throwing the same pitch twice in a row but, one would be at 100mph, the next at 75 mph. The sweeping curve was a killer!

        Like

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