Sunday, the 29-year-old veteran pitched well enough to win his fourth straight outing, but a throwing error by rookie Junior Lake and continued problems by the offense turned the outing into his eleventh loss of the season.
The same old problems of not hitting with men in scoring position led to the first series loss by Chicago since July 2-4 in Oakland. The Cubs were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 12 men on the bases.
“We were probably lucky to win one game,” manager Dale Sveum said. “We scored three runs in each game and were 1-for-25 with men in scoring position.”
A lack of run production has haunted the Cubs all season. The team’s .232 batting average with men in scoring position is the fifth lowest in the majors.
“We had guys on all day and we just didn’t get that big hit,” said Anthony Rizzo, who pitched in with two hits, including his 14th home run, which led off the sixth inning. “We could not get that big hit even though we threatened from the first inning on.”
Jackson had won three straight going into the break. He issued two walks in the sixth inning, his only walks of the game, and both came in to score.
“One of those walks scored but one scored on an overthrow,” Jackson said. “(Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer) were two good hitters. I just didn’t make my pitches. I have to make them hit the ball. Regardless, I don’t think those two walks killed me in the game. An open base for Cuddyer, who is one of their best hitters, I don’t necessarily mind that walk.”
The Cubs head to Arizona to play the Diamondbacks and watch the Matt Garza bidding war continue on Monday evening. Jackson, who has been traded more than most players in the majors, understands what Garza is dealing with right now.
“It is tough but he has handled the situation well,” Jackson said. “He is tough and full of energy. He has the support from everyone. It is probably more irritating than a distraction. You have to answer the same questions over and over again. We (players) don’t have any control of what is going to happen. You have to go to (management) with those questions but they don’t always have the answer. Other than that, you have to get ready for the day you throw. You can’t worry about stuff you can’t control.”
Jackson is now 6-11 with a 5.03 ERA in 19 starts.