I wish I understood Edwin Jackson.
In three May starts before Friday night, he had thrown 20 innings, struck out 23 and allowed just one home run. Friday's start was scheduled against the worst offensive team in baseball in a park that generally suppresses home runs.
Naturally, that meant Jackson got hit, and hit hard. Of the nine hits he allowed, five were for extra bases, and of course two were for home runs. The eight-run pounding Jackson took in four innings tacked on almost a full run to his ERA (3.98 to 4.94) and helped produce an 11-1 Padres shellacking of the Cubs, San Diego's biggest offensive output of the 2014 season.
Jackson would probably have been yanked in the second inning if the Cubs' only pitcher who could have thrown several innings in relief hadn't done exactly that the night before. Carlos Villanueva was unavailable after three good relief innings Thursday, so Jackson had to take one for the team and finish four innings. It took him 89 pitches to record 12 outs. The eight runs he allowed was the most he had given up since April 30, 2013, also against the Padres. Maybe it's the Padres.
As I said, I wish I understood Jackson. Looks like he's turning the corner and WHAM! Back to square one, or maybe even square zero.
Meanwhile, Tim Stauffer, who was making an emergency start due to Robbie Erlin hitting the disabled list, mowed down Cubs for five innings, giving up just two hits and a walk. Only one Cub reached second base against Stauffer -- Junior Lake, who doubled in the first inning. That gave the Cubs their only real hope of the night, as by the next inning, they were down by four runs.
Rick Renteria further attempted to save the bullpen by using a pair of relievers for two innings each. This was the perfect time to use Jose Veras -- down eight runs at the time he entered the game. Amazingly, Veras exited the game after a pair of scoreless frames, threw 21 strikes in 31 pitches and didn't walk anyone.
Does this mean Veras is "fixed?" Doubt it. His ERA went "down" to 10.45.
Wesley Wright entered the game after the Cubs had scored a consolation run and turned an 8-1 game into an 11-1 game. It just wasn't his night.
There just isn't much more to say about a blowout like this. It would appear to me, after seeing these two teams for a pair of games, that this series is likely to split. Tonight, Travis Wood pitches for the Cubs against Billy Buckner. No, not the former Cub, but a former Royals, Diamondbacks and Angels righthander who the Padres picked up off the scrap heap a month ago. Buckner's been pitching in Triple-A this year.
You know what that likely means. Enjoy your Saturday -- we've got another late-night (9 p.m. CT) game to watch tonight.