Reds 9, Cubs 3: Edwin Jackson Strikes Again

Jamie Sabau

A familiar foe brought a familiar result, and the Cubs' starting pitcher had a familiar pitching line.

Tell me you didn't see this one coming.

Edwin Jackson got touched up for a run in the first inning of Monday night's game on a walk, a single and a sacrifice fly. But! Then he retired 13 hitters in a row. While he was doing that, the Cubs tied the game thanks in part to an error by Jay Bruce, who was playing his first-ever professional game at first base. A ball hit by Anthony Rizzo got by Bruce and scored Chris Coghlan with the tying run in the fifth inning. Truth be told, I thought that was a tough error to give a guy who had never played the position before.

That was too much good for Jackson, who immediately coughed up the lead when the Reds piled up four hits and two runs in the bottom of the inning. One more inning and one more run and that was it for the typical Jackson outing: six innings, four earned runs. It's like a train schedule that you can count on: six innings, four earned runs from Jackson. It's just a matter of whether the Cubs can overcome that many runs and Monday night they couldn't, eventually losing to the Reds 9-3. Rizzo's 18th homer of the year with a man on base in the seventh off Mike Leake made the score close for a short time, but James Russell and Blake Parker took care of that.

Maybe things would have been different if the Cubs hadn't gone 2-for-15 with RISP, but even at that, giving up nine runs, you're not going to win too often.

Bruce made up for his error by homering with a man on off Russell and Parker was just awful. His ERA now stands at 14.73 and I've been saying for a long time that Parker isn't really a big-league pitcher. He's a minor-league lifer who's gotten a few chances in the majors and has been all right at times, but I suspect the Cubs will move on from him fairly soon. The guy holds the Triple-A Iowa career save record (59), which means he's spent too much time there.

Anyway. roster moves are a-coming, because the Cubs announced late Monday night that Dallas Beeler will start Wednesday and Kyle Hendricks, making his major-league debut, will start Thursday afternoon against the Reds. It seems, at least for now, that Tsuyoshi Wada will simply be the 26th-man doubleheader addition and pitch just Tuesday evening, then go back to Iowa. Other roster adjustments could be made during the All-Star break.

Since the Cubs are, at least temporarily, carrying 10 relievers, my guess is that two of them will go for Beeler and Hendricks. One of them is almost certainly Chris Rusin, who was called up simply to provide backup for Carlos Villanueva Saturday afternoon. The other could be Parker, or the Cubs could send Justin Grimm back to Triple-A to stretch him out to start, or simply to work on things in the bullpen at Iowa.

Much good luck to Beeler, who was excellent in his first big-league start a week ago Saturday against the Nationals, and to Hendricks, who I am very excited to see pitch. He's really the first product of Theo & Co.'s maneuvering and drafting to make the big-league team; he came over from the Rangers in the Ryan Dempster deal. If Hendricks turns out to be a good major-league starter -- and I think he will -- then that trade was a big win for the Cubs.

Meanwhile, Edwin Jackson still tries to figure things out. And at least for the moment, he is the Cubs' No. 3 starter. (Scary, right?)

One other thing of note from Monday's game: Coghlan might have to give up his charter membership in the Four Horsemen of the Mendoza Line. His 4-for-5 night, which included a pair of doubles, raised his batting average to .252. The rest of the Horsemen might not want to look up that high at a BA. And Luis Valbuena also doubled, his 22nd of the year. It surprised me that he has that many; he's got 100 fewer at-bats than Starlin Castro, who has 26. The 22 doubles for Val-B are tied for 11th in the National League and are just three short of his career high, set in 2009 with the Indians.

Tuesday's doubleheader begins with an afternoon game at 12:10 CT, featuring Travis Wood against Johnny Cueto. The nightcap will be at 6:10 CT with Wada making his MLB debut against David Holmberg. All of that is weather permitting, which, according to this forecast, it might not. Could be a long day and night of baseball today.

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