Despite a Major League-leading ninth home run of the spring from top prospect Kris Bryant, a terrible outing from right-hander Edwin Jackson cost the Chicago Cubs a shot at a win, as the club fell to the Oakland Athletics, 14-2 on Tuesday.
Bryant’s home run came on the first pitch he saw in the third inning against Oakland left-hander Drew Pomeranz, who started the game for the Athletics, tossing 2 2/3 innings of two-run ball. In the start, he struck out four – but also walked four hitters. Opposite Pomeranz, it was a forgettable outing for the veteran Jackson, who appears destined for a long-relief role to open the season.
The right-hander was hit for eight earned runs (nine total) in just 1 2/3 innings of work. He allowed nine hits – including a home run – and did not strike out a single batter. Given he faced just 14 batters, the nine hits are particularly troubling. On the spring, his earned run average rose to 7.59.
Jackson was late to the ballpark after getting the wrong directions to the ballpark (hence him not starting Tuesday’s contest) – and offered brief remarks after his appearance – to reporters, including ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers.
"“Just one of those days where they just hit the ball,” Jackson said."
Chicago opened the scoring early on when outfielder Jorge Soler singled to score offseason acquisition Dexter Fowler, but a two-run shot off the bat of Billy Butler, who is in his first season with the Athletics, in the bottom of the frame put the Cubs behind for good.
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Oakland added two more in the bottom of the second and six in the fourth. The club scored in six of the first seven innings, racking up 18 base hits by the end of the seventh, at which point the lead had grown to 14-2.
What Stood Out:
Heading into year three of the four-year, $52 million contract that brought him to Chicago several years’ back, Edwin Jackson seems to be a completely lost cause.
The right-hander was shellacked on Tuesday, surrendering eight runs on nine hits – facing just 14 batters in his 1 2/3 innings of work against the Athletics. The best he can hope for is likely a spot in the bullpen; the only reason he’s likely to get that is the fact that the Cubs still owe him a whopping $26 million between 2015 and 2016.
Even that may not be enough to keep him in Chicago for the entire season should he continue to struggle.
Chicago is back in action on Wednesday, taking on the Seattle Mariners in rare night action in Arizona. First pitch is slated for 9:05 p.m. CT from Peoria Stadium, spring home of the M’s, a team looking to capture an American League West crown in 2015.
Left-hander Travis Wood (1-0, 3.77 ERA) will take the ball for Chicago and he will be opposed by Mariners’ prospect Taijuan Walker (1-0, 0.00 ERA).