What may be forgotten after the Chicago Cubs‘ near six-hour marathon game against the Pittsburgh Pirates is that Edwin Jackson started the game threw the ball well in his first outing of 2014. Jackson is one player who is looking to have a much improved season after a rough 2013 campaign in his first year with Chicago. His start against the Pirates was encouraging, but what will be made of his 2014 season going forward?
Last season, Jackson posted an 8-18 mark with a 4.98 ERA. Unfortunately, he had the dubious honor of leading the league in losses for 2013, something he is not looking to duplicate here in 2014. Jackson has always had good stuff. In his past, he has been named an All-Star, pitched a no-hitter and owns a World Series ring. Even though he has bounced around the league throughout his career, the potential is still there for the right-hander.
One thing that cannot be disputed is that Jackson takes the ball every fifth day and eats up innings. He has made over 30 starts in each of the last seven seasons. In five of those seasons, Jackson has logged over 180 innings pitched. With better luck, Jackson should improve those 2013 numbers this season.
The key for him will be avoiding the one bad inning. He is a guy who can be cruising along in a given start until it all unravels in the blink of an eye. Against the Buccos, he went 5.1 innings only giving up two hits and one earned run. He did surrender four walks, but again he was able to avoid the big blow-up inning.
In forecasting Jackson’s second season in Chicago, look for him to again eclipse the 30-start mark with around 174 innings pitched. His record will be much closer to the .500 mark, posting double-digits wins in the process. After his encouraging start to the 2014 season, Jackson is heading in the right direction of turning things around for the Cubs.
Nick Schaeflein is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.