CHICAGO -- Not even the excitement of newcomer Arismendy Alcantara could distract Chicago Cubs fans from pitcher Edwin Jackson’s performance on Saturday. The $52 million hurler summed it up better than anyone in the Cubs' 11-6 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
"It was an embarrassing, horrendous game," Jackson said. "Flat out. No other way to put it."
Jackson couldn’t get out of the fourth inning as he gave up nine runs, including three home runs on seven hits and four walks. In the fateful six-run inning, it looked like he was pitching batting practice. One left the park via pitcher Mike Minor, his second career long ball.
"The team does a great job of battling back and you continuously go out and give up the lead," Jackson stated. "It’s pretty much unacceptable.
"At the end of the day, you have two options: You can accept it and fold or you can take it as a slap in the face and turn it around and do something about it."
Jackson has been singing this tune for the better part of a year and a half with the Cubs, and any time he comes close to showing promise on the mound he takes two steps back. His 5.64 ERA ranks 92nd out of 93 qualified starters, and he’s 13-28 as a Cub, 5-10 this season.
"There’s a lot of baseball left," Jackson said. "I definitely think I can turn things around and have a better second half and have the whole first half forgotten about."
Manager Rick Renteria stated the obvious: "Today was just not his day."
Renteria admitted it was a "good question" when asked if the Cubs were thinking of a different role for Jackson -- as in the bullpen -- but then he quickly dismissed it.
"I would say the answer is no right now," Renteria said.
And now probably isn’t the time to talk about moving a healthy, veteran starter out of the rotation, no matter how bad he is. The Cubs already have two openings after the trade of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, and they’re going to be careful with their young arms. The short of it: They can march Jackson out there and let him wear it, ERA and record be damned.
"When it’s your day to pitch, it doesn’t matter if we have three veterans or a lineup full of young guys. We have to go out and get the job done," he said. "As professionals, there are no excuses; you either get the job done or you don’t."
"We can talk all day about what you can do and what you have to do. At the end of the day, you have to go out between the lines and do it."
Cubs fans are waiting for that to happen.