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.