5/5 Reds 7, Cubs 4
Edwin Jackson can be dominating for 90 percent of the game. The Reds took advantage of that 10 percent when he’s not. Jay Bruce hit an RBI double and Todd Frazier added a two-run single in the fourth, and Joey Votto had three hits, including an RBI double, to lift the Reds to a 7-4 victory Sunday over the Cubs and complete a sweep of the three-game series.
“I couldn’t avoid the big inning,” Jackson said. “I felt like for the most part we were attacking the hitters at a pretty good pace and made them hit the ball.”
The right-hander, who signed a four-year, $52 million contract this offseason, remains winless in seven starts for the Cubs. He was lifted after scattering eight hits and throwing 86 pitches over five innings.
“I had a different mind frame today,” said Jackson, who made a few mechanical adjustments after his last outing, a loss to the Padres. “I felt I could go out and throw strikes and challenge the hitters and we did that for the most part. They came out in the fourth inning and strung together a few timely hits where there were balls down the line or finding holes in the infield, and they were able to get people on base and score.”
Jackson has yet to pitch into the seventh this season, struggling with one bad inning in each of his outings. The Reds got him in the fourth. Votto and Brandon Phillips each singled to open the inning, and Bruce followed with his RBI double. Frazier rapped a two-run single to center to open a 3-0 lead.
“[Jackson] got three or four fastballs up in the zone right there,” Dale Sveum said. “He was better today. Votto, those guys put good swings on balls and got some ground balls. [Jackson’s] ground balls seem to go through every hole. He was OK today. We just had a hard time with the bullpen holding them down. Their bullpen gave up one and ours gave up three and that changed the game around.”
The Cubs have lost six of their last eight games.
“It’s just a matter of going out, and you really can’t change what you’re doing,” Jackson said about how the team can get out of its funk. “You have to be yourself. I feel like if I can go out and throw the way I did today, more times than not, the results will be the opposite of what they were today.”
This is the first time Jackson has received a long-term contract, and he is the first player to get one from Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations. Is that the problem?
“I don’t feel like I’m pressing,” Jackson said. “I still feel like I’m being beat by the big inning. I have to go out and execute and make pitches when I have to.”
— Carrie Muskat