Where ever Edwin Jackson has pitched, he's been dogged by consistency issues. Sunday's 10-7 loss to the Giants was just a microcosm of his career.
After allowing one run in a 28-pitch first inning, Jackson cruised through the next four, allowing only one run, while striking out eight and walking one. However, when Jackson came out for the sixth, it appeared as though his first-inning struggles returned.
"(In the first) he was coming after them with a lot of fastballs, got two quick outs with his fastball," manager Dale Sveum said. "Luckily he only gave up one run out of it. (He) settled down, found his slider, had his fastball then all of a sudden completely lost his fastball. (He) was spiking his fastball and obviously it snowballed out of control."
By the time the top of the sixth ended, the Cubs 4-1 lead had vanished and Jackson was long gone. Jackson said his ultimate undoing was his failure to make adjustments when he lost his feel for his fastball.
"It's no excuses, it shouldn't be something that I allow to affect an inning like that, especially when the team's done a good job," Jackson said. "Those guys bust their butts to get you a lead and it's up to you to hold it. We don't have a pitcher on this staff who shouldn't be able to control a game when you have a (three-)run lead. I can't let the team down like that in one inning when they fought so hard to get you a lead like that."
The mood in the clubhouse after the loss was understandably somber. The Cubs battled the defending World Champion Giants for four games, but came away with only one victory. The 4-8 Cubs have played better than their record at times, but when losses like Sunday become the norm, it can lead to the unraveling of a season.
"That's up to the players, as much as anything," Sveum said about the team avoiding getting in a funk over their losing ways. "I've had my meetings and that. To lose games, you know, whatever reason you want to say we lost that game. The guys battled, we had the lead, we swung the bats good early, got some big hits. We took the lead and had two outs, two strikes."