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Monday, April 8, 2013
Jackson won't blame weather for loss

By Bruce Levine

CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs starter Edwin Jackson had to battle the elements as well as the Milwaukee Brewers Monday in his Wrigley Field debut.

Edwin Jackson
The Cubs' Edwin Jackson settled down after a rocky start and went six innings.
With winds gusting upwards of 30 mph, Jackson watched the game get away from him in the first inning when Brewers first baseman Martin Maldonado's wind-aided triple went soaring over the head of Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz.

“I felt like I put myself in a position to be a pitch away (in the first inning) and I didn’t execute that pitch,” Jackson said. “I had (Jonathan) Lucroy 2-2 and I didn’t put him away. That allowed them to get back into the game. I have to do a better job of executing pitches when I get myself in a position to get myself out of a jam.”

Jackson trailed by five runs after two innings, but gutted his way through four more innings without allowing a run in the eventual 7-4 loss.

“I told (Jackson), ‘Just don’t think about what happened. Just don’t let them score anymore off of you,’” said catcher Welington Castillo, who hit a two-run home run, his first of the season, in the second inning. “I told him to let your ability come through and take care of it.”

Although Jackson, who signed a four-year $52 million contract in the offseason, lost his second game of the season and has an ERA close to six in 11 innings of work, he didn’t really pitch poorly in either ballgame.

“He was really very efficient after the first inning,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum. “He did a really nice job after that. They got four runs and the wind shift cost us four. That’s Wrigley.”

For his part, Jackson refused to blame the windy conditions for Monday’s loss.

“That is not anything I would make an excuse about,” he said. “The weather conditions are the same for both teams. Everyone has to go and pitch and play in the same conditions.”

While the wind shift in reality cost the Cubs at least three runs, Chicago weather patterns should not be a mystery for the home team.

“We were just telling (the new outfielders) to center the ball,” said centerfielder David DeJesus. “You want the ball centered over your brim -- that is how (outfield coach) Dave McKay teaches it . That will help you deal with the wind because, as you saw today, with anything foul you have to stay on it.”

The Cubs’ late rally did little to satisfy a team that now has a four-game losing streak.

“It is early,” Castillo said. “We have good guys here who can make a pitch and throw quality strikes, but we need to win. We need to make these adjustments as soon as possible.”