Finish this sentence: "It'll be a cold day in Wrigley Field in June when..."
One way to not finish the sentence is "... Edwin Jackson wins a game against the Cincinnati Reds." I never go to a game Jackson is starting expecting the Cubs to win. Somehow, he has won five games this year -- that's all the games the Cubs have won when he starts. Oddly enough, I probably should have something of that expectation, because four of those five victories have come at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are 4-4 when Jackson starts a home game this year, 1-7 when he starts a road game. Last year, those numbers were: 6-12 on the road, 4-9 at Wrigley.
Those are just two of the many inexplicable sets of numbers that surround Jackson, a pitcher with talent who doesn't seem to have any idea what he's doing when he takes the mound. Wednesday's 4-1 loss to the Reds was just another one of those games; the only thing truly significant about it was the 59-degree game-time temperature, which sent many people who had inexplicably decided to come to the ballpark in T-shirts and shorts home early.
Most likely, the Cubs weren't going to win this game even if Jackson had had one of his rare solid outings. Mat Latos, in just his third start of 2014 after spending much of this year on the disabled list, had the Cubs' bats as cold as the weather. They managed one run in the fourth inning when Ryan Sweeney led off with a double and Starlin Castro singled him in. In so doing, Castro posted his 45th RBI, one more than he had all last year. Castro is on pace for 95 RBI this year. Ernie Banks, who did it five times as a shortstop, is the only Cubs shortstop ever to have that many RBI or more in a season. Castro went 2-for-4 and is having a most impressive year. His career RBI high is 78, set in 2012. He could very well have his third All-Star selection this year.
The rest of the Cubs, besides Sweeney and Castro, managed just two singles, one by Luis Valbuena and one by Darwin Barney, and a two-out pinch-double by Justin Ruggiano in the ninth inning that bounced off the bottom of the basket in right-center field. That prompted a review request from Rick Renteria, though it was pretty obvious that the ball went downward off the basket. Had it bounced out of the basket for a home run, the ball would have had an upward trajectory.
The Cubs won the other review challenge of the day, on this pickoff play in the fourth inning (GIF courtesy BCBer ubercubsfan):
I don't know what else to say about Edwin Jackson. Only three qualified starters have a higher ERA (Brandon McCarthy, Eric Stults, Ricky Nolasco). He's got the highest combined ERA (5.06, and it's not close -- Ian Kennedy is second at 4.58) of any pitcher with as many innings as he's thrown (265) over the last two seasons, and as I've written before, he doesn't seem to have a plan of execution or any sense of pacing. There were times Wednesday night when he went right through hitters (the second and third innings, when he retired six straight Reds on a total of just 23 pitches), other times when he looked like he was standing around waiting for someone to bring him a pizza. And don't forget, we've got two and a half more years of this! Ugh.
The Reds and their 21-5 record at Wrigley since 2012 are gone until September, and the Nationals invade beginning Thursday evening (back to the normal 7:05 CT starting time), with Travis Wood facing Doug Fister.