Can Jackson succeed in a relief role?
You can simply search the posts that I’ve written about the Chicago Cubs’Edwin Jackson
to know where I stand. There haven’t been any punches. Hard to when you have someone lose near 40 games in two seasons. But after his short but effective 1 2/3 innings against the Rockies I realize–Jackson may be important to the Cubs this year.
Aside from last season when he hit the DL (which I’m not sure was an injury, but that’s all conspiracy theory) he’s been consistently healthy. Bullpen arms seem to go through ordeals with injuries, as the bullpen is generally where you’ll see the biggest rotation of faces. It’s already started three games in for the Cubs with Justin Grimm hitting the 15-day DL.
Called up in his place was Brian Schlitter, who last year was very effective until–yep, an injury–slowed his season. He wasn’t the same after, nor was he this spring. But sometimes based on options and personnel, there are only certain call-ups that can be made.
With Dallas Beeler, Tsuyoshi Wada and Jacob Turner on the DL it kept the team from making a move that they may have wanted to. But now the importance of Jackson shines through even more. We don’t need a six-inning quality start out of him. In most cases, if he can go out and get one or 2 innings of scoreless baseball in–I’d say we could all agree that’s a huge win.
And early on in this season, that’s what we’ll need. Will Jackson be in Chicago all season? Probably not. If he can do as I hope, the Cubs would look to trade him while he has value. If he fails again, he’ll be on his way out.
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Pitching coach Chris Bosio feels that Jackson has the makeup to be an effective pitcher out of the bullpen, but only if he accepts the role. Yesterday’s scoreless outing was encouraging, but it’s only one. There’s a long way to go, and Grimm won’t be the last guy to hit the DL.
Hoping Jackson tanks it won’t do the Cubs any good, so we may have to…dare I say it, support him?
That has to be my lifetime of Cubs optimism talking.