No decision for Edwin Jackson in Cubs’ 4-3 win over Marlins
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com April 25, 2013 11:21PM
Chicago Cubs v Miami Marlins
Updated: April 26, 2013 3:05PM
MIAMI — Has Cubs pitcher Edwin Jackson been pressing under the weight of the first big, multi-year contract of his career?
He wouldn’t be the first to do that, especially on the North Side.
‘‘It’s normal,’’ said Alfonso Soriano, who didn’t hit a home run and had only one RBI in his first month as a Cub in 2007 after signing his eight-year, $136 million contract. ‘‘Because when you get the contract, you want to show that you’re making the money because you’re a good player. When I came here, the first couple months, I just tried to do too much. When I realized that, I just said, ‘Hey, be who I am,’ and then I started hitting better.’’
Soriano said he doesn’t know if Jackson is doing the same thing. Jackson says he doesn’t think he is.
But Jackson, who spent his career on one-year deals until signing a four-year, $52 million contract with the Cubs, remains winless through five starts with his new team after getting no decision in the Cubs’ 4-3 win over the Miami Marlins on Thursday night. Luis Valbuena’s two-out homer in the ninth was the difference in a battle of last-place teams.
The upside for Jackson, the Cubs’ biggest-name acquisition of the winter, is that his last two starts have both been ‘‘quality starts,’’ including Thursday, when he retired 14 of the last 17 batters he faced after a rough first two innings. That got him through six innings in a 3-3 game.
The not-so-up side: He has yet to pitch into the seventh inning, he leads the National League with 15 walks, and even when he allowed only one earned run in a loss to the Milwaukee Brewers last weekend, two more scored because of his throwing error.
‘‘I don’t feel like I’m pushing too hard to do anything,’’ said Jackson, who allowed four hits and three walks to the first 11 batters he faced Thursday — and who has tended to be hurt by one bad inning. ‘‘It’s not like I’m getting blown up in whole games.’’
The veteran, who’s known in the clubhouse for a cool demeanor and even temperament on the mound, feels pretty sure he’s not falling into the trap of trying to live up to a big contract in a new city.
‘‘I don’t feel like it,’’ he said. ‘‘It may look different from the outside. But from the inside, I feel pretty good, pretty comfortable. . . . It just hasn’t gone our way.’’
Despite a 4.84 ERA and three losses in four starts entering Thursday, Jackson was trying to keep perspective on his inconsistent start.
‘‘For the most part, I try to stay as even-keeled as possible,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s a long season.’’
That was one of the keys for Soriano in that first year of his big deal.
‘‘Sometimes it takes a week, or a month,’’ Soriano said.
Sometimes you don’t even know you’re doing or thinking any differently.
‘‘That’s the point,” Soriano said. ‘‘Sometimes you try to do too much and you don’t even know, and you look back two months later and say, ‘Man, I’m not the same guy I used to be.’
‘‘But everybody has that here this year. I think we try too much at times. So it’s not only him and a new contract. It’s the whole team here.’’