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Edwin Jackson’s thoughts on this game were unprintable; read them here
For a guy who already has 13 losses and had one of the worst first halves in the National League this year, Edwin Jackson pulled off what looked like an impossible feat when Friday began.
He hit bottom in this season to forget for the Cubs.
Staked to a 6-0 lead in the first inning when the Cubs scored all six before making an out in their biggest inning of the season, Jackson blew the whole wad by the time his six-inning start was done – and the Cubs eventually lost 8-6 to the San Diego Padres in the opener of a three-game series Friday.
“It was just a real sh—y job of holding a lead,” said Jackson, who hung breaking balls on Jedd Gyorko’s three-run homer in the fourth, Wil Venable’s two-run triple in the fifth, and Logan Forsythe’s tying triple in the sixth.
It was the fourth straight loss for the Cubs, who have the second-worst record in the National League – and 13th loss in their last 19.
“They beat our butts the last eight innings,” manager Dale Sveum said.
Jackson, whose ERA jumped to 5.00, actually faced the minimum through his first trip through the Padres’ order, making what happened in the next three innings even more baffling.
“The guys come out in the first inning and do a great job of giving you enough run support to have a chance to preserve a win,” Jackson said. “If you don’t’ get that done, that’s just a terrible job. That’s just a terrible job of protecting a lead.”
Jackson retired eight of the first nine he faced (including a double play ball) – but only seven of the next 16, a stretch that included a home run, double and two triples.
“You can’t throw big-league hitters balls down the middle,” Sveum said.
Asked if there’s a fine line to the adage about pounding the strike zone with a big lead, Sveum said, “It’s the big leagues.”
It was a three-inning process for Jackson to blow the lead and allow San Diego to tie it.
But it was a one-batter process for left-hander James Russell giving up the go-ahead run – a second-pitch, leadoff home run by lefty-hitting Wil Venable in the seventh.
“Once again, bad pitch selection,” Sveum said. “You’re not supposed to throw him a slider, and he threw him a slider.”
Russell has given up three home runs in his last 2 2/3 innings, including two by lefties (also Jon Jay of St. Louis).
Russell’s 77 appearances last year tied for 6th in the league, and his 65 this year rank second in the majors.
But Sveum says he doesn’t think the workload is a factor in Russell’s recent struggles.
“Not the way the last few have gone,” Sveum said.
Gyorko added a leadoff homer in the eighth off Blake Parker, making Gyorko the first Padre with a multihomer game this season.