Results tagged ‘ Edwin Jackson ’

Cubs Minor League Recap: 8/26/14

Daytona battled back to secure a win, and Kane County set a franchise mark with its 88th victory Tuesday. The other four teams were in action, but each lost. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s minor league games:

Iowa Cubs (69-70)
3rd Place (-4.0)

Iowa allowed five runs on 13 hits in a 5-3 loss to their host, the Tacoma Rainiers.

  • LF Junior Lake (.318) finished 2-for-3 with two runs, a walk, a double (2), a homer, two RBI (6) and a stolen base from the leadoff spot. His two hits extended his hitting streak to eight games (.350/14-for-40).
  • 3B Kris Bryant (.301) singled Lake in to put Iowa on the board in the first. His 109 RBI on the season (51 with Iowa) rank third in the minor leagues.

Tennessee Smokies (32-33)
T-1st Place (–)

Tennessee dropped its sixth-straight contest, a 6-5 comeback loss to visiting Jacksonville, to fall into a tie for first place.

  • CF Albert Almora (.256) doubled (7) and tripled (2) in his second game with multiple extra-base hits in the last four.
  • Five Smokies doubled in yesterday’s contest—Almora, SS-2B Anthony Giansanti (.237, 6 2B), 1B Lars Anderson (.330, 10 2B), C Charles Cutler (.313, 13 2B) and RF Rubi Silva (.257, 13 2B).
  • RHP Blake Cooper (1.49, 5 H) and LHP Hunter Cervenka (3.90, 14 H) each recorded a hold before RHP Frank Batista (4-2, 1.70) allowed three runs (two earned) in the ninth, suffering his second blown save and second loss.

Daytona Cubs (38-26)
1st Place (+2.0)

The D-Cubs maintained their first-place lead with a comeback 6-5 win at Dunedin.

  • RF Bijan Rademacher (.281) recorded all three Cubs extra-base hits, homering for the second-straight night, knocking two doubles (21) and driving in one (53).
  • 3B Wes Darvill (.251) singled twice in his first multihit game since July 29 vs. Bradenton.
  • SS Marco Hernandez (.270) also tallied two singles and knocked in two (51).
  • RHP Stephen Perakslis (5-0, 4.03) earned his fifth win with 2.1 scoreless innings of relief.
  • Perakslis was followed by RHP Zack Godley (3.69), who allowed one run over 1.2 frames for his seventh save.

Kane County Cougars (43-21)
1st Place (+3.0)

The Cougars tied a franchise record with their 88th win of the season, a 6-1 victory over host Burlington.

  • RHP Duane Underwood pitched 5.1 innings, giving up one earned run, walking none and striking out four.
  • DH Chesny Young (.337) recorded the lone multihit game for the Cougars, which included his sixth double.
  • Each player in the Cougars’ starting nine recorded at least one hit. Five Cougars recorded a double—Young, 1B Jacob Rogers (.267, 26 2B), CF Trey Martin (.243, 15 2B), 3B Jeimer Candelario (.252, 18 2B) and LF Shawon Dunston (.272, 16 2B). Dunston drove in a team-high two runs (35).
  • LHP Michael Heesch (2.43) and RHP Michael Wagner (2.68) combined for 3.2 innings of scoreless relief, striking out a combined five Bees.

Boise Hawks (16-16)
3rd Place (-5.0)

Everett overcame a 2-1 deficit with a three-run ninth in Boise, topping the Hawks, 4-2.

  • DH Kevin Brown (.269) finished 2-for-4 with his second triple of the season and both Boise runs.
  • RHP Joshua Conway did not factor into the decision, throwing three perfect innings before exiting the game.
  • In relief, LHP Sam Wilson (5-1, 3.82) suffered the loss, recording three earned runs over two innings of work.
  • RHP Daniel Lewis (0.90) allowed three inherited runners to score, suffering his first blown save despite a line of one scoreless inning.

Mesa Cubs (8-16)
5th Place (-8.5)

Mesa scored first, but surrendered a two-run lead to lose at the AZL Dodgers, 8-3.

  • 2B Varonex Cuevas (.329) hit his third triple (3) in four games, adding a single and driving in one (5).
  • CF Kevonte Mitchell (.292) also recorded his third triple, scoring one of Mesa’s three runs.
  • RF Eloy Jimenez (.225, 3 SB) and SS Ho-young Son (.254, 12 SB) each stole a base despite both going hitless.

Cubs place Castro on bereavement list; move Jackson to DL

The Cubs today placed shortstop Starlin Castro on the bereavement list and placed right-handed pitcher Edwin Jackson on the 15-day DL with a right lat strain. Infielder Logan Watkins and left-handed pitcher Zac Rosscup have been recalled from Triple-A Iowa.

Both Rosscup and Watkins, who will wear uniform No. 45, will be available for the Cubs this afternoon when they resume their suspended game with the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field at 4:05 p.m.

Rosscup, 26, joins the Cubs for his fifth stint this season and has no record and a 7.50 ERA (5 ER/6.0 IP) in seven big league relief outings. He began the year with four scoreless appearances but allowed five runs in 2.0 innings covering three appearances during his last big league stay and was optioned to Iowa on July 20. With Iowa, Rosscup is 2-0 with four saves and a 2.10 ERA (7 ER/30.0 IP) in 29 relief appearances.

Watkins, 24, joins the Cubs for the first time this season after batting .256 (81-for-316) with 20 doubles, one triple, four home runs and 38 RBI in 101 games with Iowa this year. The left-handed hitter made his big league debut with the Cubs last season and batted .211 (8-for-38) with one double in 27 games.

Castro is batting .284 (141-for-496) with 31 doubles, one triple, 13 home runs and 64 RBI during his 2014 All-Star season. Bereavement list rules allow for a stay of a minimum of three days and a maximum of seven days.

Jackson is 6-14 with 6.09 ERA (94 ER/139.0 IP) in 26 starts for the Cubs this season.

Now Playing: Cubscast Mesa, The Definition of Success

After nearly two months of preparation, Cubs spring camp is coming to a close, and the team is getting ready to head north to Pittsburgh for the season opener.

In the final installation of our Cubscast Mesa video series, we asked Cubs players to state their definition of success for 2014. Though most pundits don’t expect much from the team, the players are definitely setting their sights high.

Check out the other videos from our Spring Training series:

Cubscast Mesa: Positive Energy in Cubs Camp
Cubscast Mesa: Inside Cubs Park
Cubscast Mesa with Rick Renteria and the 2014 coaching staff
Cubscast Mesa with the top prospects
Cubscast Mesa: Meet the new guys
Cubscast Mesa: The lighter side of the Cubs, Part One
Cubscast Mesa: The lighter side of the Cubs, Part Two
Cubscast Mesa: The lighter side of the Cubs, Part Three
Cubscast Mesa: The lighter side of the Cubs, Part Four
Cubscast Mesa: The lighter side of the Cubs, Part Five

Now Playing: Cubscast Mesa, The lighter side of the Cubs, Part Five

Playing professional baseball is a dream job, but it’s not the most likely career choice. So what would your favorite players be doing if their big league dreams hadn’t come true? We talked to Cubs personnel about some other possible career choices.

We’ll be posting videos and stories from Cubs Park throughout the spring, so watch the blog and our Twitter account, @cubsvineline.

Check out the other videos from our Spring Training series:

Cubscast Mesa: Positive Energy in Cubs Camp
Cubscast Mesa: Inside Cubs Park
Cubscast Mesa with Rick Renteria and the 2014 coaching staff
Cubscast Mesa with the top prospects
Cubscast Mesa: Meet the new guys
Cubscast Mesa: The lighter side of the Cubs, Part One
Cubscast Mesa: The lighter side of the Cubs, Part Two
Cubscast Mesa: The lighter side of the Cubs, Part Three
Cubscast Mesa: The lighter side of the Cubs, Part Four

Now Playing: Cubscast Mesa, The Lighter Side of the Cubs, Part Four

Professional baseball players live an odd life. They work late hours, face enormous pressures and spend half their year on the road—which means they have a lot of down time before they have to be at the park.

In Part Four of our Lighter Side video series, we ask Kris Bryant, Carlos Villanueva, Edwin Jackson and others about their favorite movies.

We’ll be posting videos and stories from Cubs Park throughout the spring, so watch the blog and our Twitter account, @cubsvineline.

Check out the other videos from our Spring Training series:

Cubscast Mesa, Inside Cubs Park
Cubscast Mesa with Rick Renteria and the 2014 coaching staff
Cubscast Mesa with the top prospects
Cubscast Mesa: The lighter side of the Cubs, Part One
Cubscast Mesa: Meet the new guys
Cubscast Mesa: The lighter side of the Cubs, Part Two
Cubscast Mesa: The lighter side of the Cubs, Part Three

Now Playing: Cubscast Mesa, Inside Cubs Park

Building a model organization is about much more than just acquiring the right players. Those players also need world class facilities in which to practice and train. Following the opening last year of their new training facility in the Dominican Republic, the Cubs took another step in the right direction this spring when they unveiled their new Cubs Park complex in Mesa, Ariz.

The facility includes Cubs Park—which seats 15,000 people—a two-story player development facility and a rebuilt Riverview Park. It all sits on a 146-acre site, making it the largest facility in the Cactus League.

“There are two things that all our baseball operations people have been saying since we walked in for the first time,” said baseball president Theo Epstein at the park’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. “One is no more excuses. This place is as good as it gets. And the second is related to that. If we can’t get better here, we can’t get better anywhere. We will work extremely hard to put that World Series flag on top of this complex to finish it off.”

If you didn’t get a chance to head out to Mesa, this spring, we give you an inside look at the Cubs spectacular new Spring Training facility, inside and out.

We’ll be posting videos and stories from Cubs Park throughout the spring, so watch the blog and our Twitter account, @cubsvineline.

Check out the other videos from our Spring Training series:

Cubscast Mesa with Rick Renteria and the 2014 coaching staff
Cubscast Mesa with the top prospects
Cubscast Mesa: The lighter side of the Cubs, Part One
Cubscast Mesa: Meet the new guys
Cubscast Mesa: The lighter side of the Cubs, Part Two
Cubscast Mesa: The lighter side of the Cubs, Part Three

Now Playing: The Lighter Side of the Cubs, Part Three

Everyone who has ever played baseball has had it happen—a misjudged pop fly that lands one foot behind you, a weak grounder that goes right through your legs or a moment of indecision on the basepaths that makes you look foolish. Major leaguers are no different.

In Part Three of our Lighter Side video series, we ask Travis Wood, Nate Schierholtz, Justin Grimm and others about their most embarrassing moments on a baseball field.

We’ll be posting videos and stories from Cubs Park throughout the spring, so watch the blog and our Twitter account, @cubsvineline. Later this week, we’ll give you an inside look at the new Cubs Park facility in Mesa.

Check out the other videos from our Spring Training series:

Cubscast Mesa with Rick Renteria and the 2014 coaching staff
Cubscast Mesa with the top prospects
Cubscast Mesa: The lighter side of the Cubs, Part One
Cubscast Mesa: Meet the new guys
Cubscast Mesa: The lighter side of the Cubs, Part Two

Hof Off the Presses: May issue featuring the Cubs core

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Please don’t judge me, but …

I grew up an Atlanta Braves fan. Look, there wasn’t much I could do about it. I moved a lot when I was younger and lived in Atlanta in the early ’80s. With each subsequent move, I was able to follow the Braves because of TBS.

Here’s what I remember about the Braves from my younger days—1981 was a miserable, strike-shortened year; 1982 was a blast until the postseason (a phenomenon I didn’t realize would repeat itself throughout my adulthood); 1983 was solid; and then depression set in.

The Braves were 80-82 in 1984, and that was by far the best it would get until the franchise began its unprecedented run of regular-season success in 1991. The late ’ 80s saw a wretched slide that reached its nadir in 1988, when the team went 54-106.

54-106!

So why am I recounting this sad chapter from my childhood? I see a lot of similarities between what the Braves were doing in the late ’80s/early ’90s and what the Cubs are doing now.

In 1990, the Braves went 65-97, good for last place in the NL West, 26 games behind the Reds. In 1991, they shocked the baseball world by winning 94 games and getting all the way to Game 7 of the World Series. Since then, they’ve been one of the most stable and consistently excellent teams in pro sports.

But the Braves’ worst-to-first run didn’t come out of the blue. In fact, the team probably wasn’t as bad as its record in 1990. If you look back at the roster, it included names like Steve Avery, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Mike Stanton, Ron Gant and David Justice. All those players had some important things in common—they were young, untested, and between the ages of 20 and 25.

When we talked to Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein for our January issue, something he said resonated with me.

“There are two ways to really improve your team in a hurry from one year to the next,” Epstein said. “One is sign impact players or bring in impact players from outside the organization. The other is to have a wave of young talent that’s approaching their prime years at the same time.”

The Cubs might not shock the world this year, but they’re building that wave of talent—players who can grow together, win together, lose together, and ultimately figure things out together as they move into their prime years.

One of these waves is at the major league level now in Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson. Epstein calls these players the “Cubs core.” And the organization is developing another strong group in the low minor leagues with high-ceiling players like Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler, Pierce Johnson and Dillon Maples.

In the May issue of Vine Line, we talk to the Cubs core about what it means to them to play in Chicago and how they plan to turn potential into major league success. One thing is clear—no matter what the record said at the end of 2012 or what it says right now—these guys do not buy into the presumption that the Cubs are years away from winning.

We also check in on the new minor league affiliate that is helping develop the next wave of top talent. After eight years with the Peoria Chiefs, the Cubs switched their Midwest League affiliate to Kane County, located about 40 miles from Wrigley Field’s doorstep. There are huge benefits to having a farm team nearby, and the Cougars and Cubs both hope to take advantage of that in 2013 and beyond.

Finally, we look at the other side of the Cubs equation—the fan base. This season, the team has developed an advertising and marketing campaign based on the fierce dedication and undying passion of the best fans in the game. We talk to the stars of the new ads and the Cubs front office to find out how it all came together.

To read these stories and more, pick up the May issue of Vine Line, on sale now at select Chicago-area retailers. Or subscribe to Vine Line today. And you can follow us on Twitter at @cubsvineline.

Here’s to a brighter future.

—Gary Cohen

Starting rotation a bright spot for Cubs

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Carlos Villanueva has been solid in the Cubs rotation. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Offensive woes and fielding mishaps have hijacked the headlines for the Cubs as the baseball season reaches the one-month mark. It’s hard to ignore the fact that the team has scored just 61 runs, 13th in the National League. And considering how much time has been spent reinforcing the basics in the last few years, it’s even more surprising that the defense has committed 17 errors in 18 games, second most in the NL. Those stats will need to improve if the team hopes to do better than the 59 wins they managed last season.

But there is some cause for optimism in Chicago thanks to a surprisingly dominant starting rotation.

The starting five as whole has a 3.11 ERA, .208 opponent batting average, 1.15 WHIP and 98 strikeouts over 110 innings. Those numbers are good for third, first, tied for first and fourth respectively.

The front five has thrown a total of 110 innings, sixth most in the NL. Because of the struggles in the bullpen (4.86 ERA, 12th in the NL), manager Dale Sveum has had his starters throw 68.8 percent of all pitches this season, the fourth highest percentage in the NL. Also, Cubs arms have managed to keep the ball on the ground 52.2 percent of the time, while allowing a home run on just 10 percent of all fly balls, good for second and fifth, respectively.

When you look at how the starters have fared individually, these stats should come as no surprise. Newcomer Carlos Villanueva carries a 1.03 ERA—top 10 for starters in the NL—into Tuesday night’s start. Despite throwing a fastball that clocks in at just 87 mph, the veteran has managed to fan 15 batters over 21 innings, walking just four.

Southpaw Travis Wood has a 2.08 ERA in 26 innings. The 26-year-old has gone at least six innings in all four appearances this year, including solid outings against the offensive-minded Brewers, Rangers and Reds.

After a solid 2012, staff ace Jeff Samardzija is trying to establish himself as one of the game’s elite this season. Though his 3.38 ERA could be lower at this point in the year, his 31 strikeouts over 26.2 innings are good for third in the NL. That puts him in the same company as perennial All-Stars Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright. Add in prized free agent Edwin Jackson and his 24 Ks over 22.1 innings, and it looks like the staff is in good shape.

And let’s not forget that the rotation isn’t even at full strength. Former ace Matt Garza is scheduled to return from a strained lat in early May, and free agent acquisition Scott Baker could be ready to go shortly after the All-Star break. If the offense warms up and the Cubs can find someone to get the last three outs, they have a good chance to improve on last season’s win total.

2013 Pitching Profile: Edwin Jackson

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

Following what seemed like an interminable Spring Training season, Edwin Jackson will finally make his Cubs debut tonight against the Pirates at 6 p.m. CST. In January, the 29-year-old right-handed pitcher became the first major free agent signing of the Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer era when he inked a four-year, $52 million contract with the team. With temperatures hovering in the mid-30s at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park Wednesday, it could be a good night to be a power pitcher.

Though Jackson’s career has been marked by short stints with various major league teams—he’s now with his eighth team in 10 big league seasons—his stats show general improvement. In 2012, Jackson finished the year with a 4.03 ERA and 8.0 K/9, slightly better than his career 4.40 ERA and 6.9 K/9. With a fastball that can reach 97-98 mph, Jackson brings a top-line power arm to the fold and will strengthen the Cubs’ pitching depth—a crucial component to success.

Jackson is one of several pitchers profiled in Vine Line‘s 2013 Pitching Preview, available in the April issue, on sale now. We’ll be posting pitching profiles throughout the month, so be sure to check back to see what’s in store on the mound for 2013.

EDWIN JACKSON*
Repertoire (Avg. MPH):
4-seam (94), 2-seam (94), Cutter (93), Change (87), Slider (86), Curve (80)
Age: 29
2012 Stats: 189 IP, 21.3 K percentage, 6.8 UBB percentage, 4.03 ERA, 98 ERA+, 1.22 WHIP

Last Season: Steady Improvement
As the rotation horse for last year’s playoff-bound Nationals, Jackson had somewhat of a coming of age. The flamethrower, who didn’t turn 29 until season’s end, set career bests with his strikeout and walk rates (21 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively). Despite already working for eight major league employers, Jackson’s career has been marked by durability and general improvement since he made his big league debut after his 20th birthday. He’ll be well worth the Cubs’ four-year investment if he extends his streak of five straight seasons with at least 180 innings.

Plan of Attack: If you have two plus-plus pitches, use them
Watching Jackson deal can be a real treat. His momentum drives toward the plate, and his explosive arm action generates a mid-90s fastball that can touch 97-98 mph even into the late innings. He relies mostly on the pure velocity of his four-seamer, but he’ll sink some two-seamers (and an adequate change-up) away from lefties as well. He even re-implemented a cut fastball during the second half of last season. But his fastball largely sets up his other great weapon—the slider.

Putaway Pitch: Slider
If Jackson gets two strikes on a hitter, watch out. Last season, one of every two swings on Jackson’s slider was a whiff. It was even harder to hit with less than two strikes, when hitters weren’t expecting it. Jackson’s slider has late, downward break and moves farther out of the zone as the game goes along. Largely thanks to the increased use of his slider, as well as his sinking fastball, Jackson transformed from a fly-ball pitcher before 2010 to a more neutral one since.

*Numbers courtesy Brooks Baseball

—Sean Ahmed

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