Cubs Notes: Edwin Jackson shelled, Castillo injured

If you didn’t catch Friday’s game right from the beginning, you probably missed the entirety of starting pitcher Edwin Jackson’s outing.

In an exclamation point (a sad exclamation point) to a dreadful season, Jackson only recorded two outs in the first inning before being lifted. He gave up five earned runs on 35 pitches.

It was Jackson’s first start since Aug. 20 due to a stint on the disabled list. You have to wonder if it will be his last start with the Cubs.

After the game, which the Cubs lost 14-5, Rick Renteria said Jackson is still scheduled for one last start against Milwaukee. We’ll see.

Jackson has received an abundance of criticism ever since being signed to a four-year deal by the Cubs last season. It is arguably the Theo regime’s biggest mistake thus far. After Friday’s loss, Jackson’s ERA sits at an unhealthy 6.38.

To his credit, Jackson has remained professional in a bad situation. But with two years left on his deal, where do the Cubs go from here?

My guess is they unload him in the off-season, but if they are unable to do so, I don’t see the Cubs trusting him in the rotation anymore. Maybe a switch to the bullpen could save his career at this point.

Facing Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw, basically a shoo-in for the National League Cy Young Award this year, started on Friday and the Cubs actually held their own. After falling behind 6-0 in the top half of the first inning, the Cubs came back with three runs in the bottom half.

Arismendy Alcantara, who missed the past few games because of a sore wrist, was back in the lineup. He led off the first inning with a walk. After a deep fly out by Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo ripped an RBI double. Then Jorge Soler got in on the party with a triple.

It was good to see the Cubs not fold after a miserable top of the first, and have success against one of the game’s best pitchers. It would have been nice to see some more runs scored after the first inning, but at least they chased Kershaw after only five innings.

Other notes

* Welington Castillo had to leave the game in the first inning with a bruised rib. Jesse Rogers reported that Castillo was taken to the hospital for tests. Here’s hoping it’s nothing too serious. Rafael Lopez took over for Castillo and recorded his first major league hit.

* After primarily playing shortstop to fill in for Starlin Castro, Javier Baez switched back to second base on Friday. He made an error on Thursday at shortstop, but this is probably more about just getting him some more experience at second base.

* Can hitters’ brains be rewired to react to pitches better? This article from the Wall Street Journal describes three teams — one being the Cubs — that are engaged in an experiment to find out. With strikeouts up across the league, it’ll be interesting to see if something like this will have an effect on hitters’ performance.

* The New York Times published a comprehensive overview of the Cubs’ rebuild since the Ricketts family purchased the team. It’s a long read, but worth it. A notable section near the end says Theo Epstein spoke off the record about his vision of the Cubs’ starting lineup of the future, as well as talking about free agents he anticipates signing. (John Lester, perhaps??)

* Guess what? Kris Bryant has won another award. Shocking, I know. This time it was the Pipeline Prospect of the Year.

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