The Chicago Cubs took on the Kansas City Royals today in early spring training action as Edwin Jackson, a big disappointment from a year ago, took the mound. The righty showed flashes of what he’s capable of on opposite sides of the spectrum. In two innings of work, he gave up three hits, including a home run that was the one earned run that he yielded. Jackson got the loss in a 5-3 game the Cubs dropped.
Jackson also looked in control at times as he fanned three Royals hitters in his short outing. More consistency is going to be needed from Jackson who is currently the highest paid player in the Cubs’ rotation. Despite being the highest paid, Jackson is slated for the No. 3 slot in the rotation after having an ERA just below 5.00 and losing a National League high 18 games in 2013.
In a short outing like this, Jackson was still able to show just how good and bad he can be on any given day. The Cubs saw that first hand last season as he struggled most of the season, but dazzled in July, going 3-1 with a 1.83 ERA. At the very least, the Cubs will want Jackson to eat up 200 innings and have an ERA in the low 4.00 range in 2014.
Also in the early going of the ball game, shortstop Starlin Castro left the game with a mild calf strain. Castro, who will be competing for the leadoff spot this spring, was hit by a pitch in the first inning and was then thrown out trying to steal second moments later. Following the caught stealing, Castro jogged off the field seemingly under duress. He was pulled out of the lineup as a precautionary measure and the injury isn’t thought to be serious.
Going forward, Jackson and Castro are very important to the Cubs’ future. Castro is looking to have a bounce back season this year after having the worst season of his baseball life a year ago. All Jackson is looking for is more consistency and to show more of his good than bad side when he takes the mound for the Cubs this season.