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edwin jackson featureI went to the Art Institute of Chicago when I was a kid, but I’ve never been back in my adult life. Although I’m in Chicago frequently, I’m usually all Cubs, all the time. I suppose I’ll have to make a particular effort to go back, given that the Art Institute was just ranked the top museum in the world, based on Trip Advisor reviews from regular folks. I love me some Chicago, but, having been to some of the “name” museums in the world, I was surprised to see that. Maybe the Louvres and the Uffizis and the MoMAs come with expectations too great? In any case, it seems like a nice feather for Chicago, and something else to do when you’re in town – even if you live there.

  • Edwin Jackson was brutally bad in his return from the disabled list yesterday. He had good velocity, but that doesn’t much matter when you can’t locate it, and can’t command any secondary pitches. So Jackson was all over the place out of the zone, and up-and-hittable in the zone, and he lasted just 0.2 innings. It felt like the epilogue to an ugly two-year stint with the Cubs. Jackson is owed $22 million over the next two seasons, but it is virtually impossible to see the Cubs retaining him next year, even in a relief role. Given his age and past success, there is certainly reason to believe he could be a passable big league pitcher or better in the future … but I can’t see that coming with the Cubs. Not at this turning point, and not with so many other intriguing back-end options, power relief arms, and (hopefully) big-time free agent additions.
  • When asked the obvious question after the game, Cubs manager Rick Renteria wasn’t exactly falling over himself to guarantee Jackson’s future (Cubs.com): “It’s too soon for me to say what exactly he’ll do because the game is finished and I haven’t had a conversation yet with anybody. We have to sit down and talk. We still have other guys that we have to see how we line them up and how we use them. We’ll make those decisions, obviously, in the very near future.” It’s possible Jackson gets one more start this year, but I’m not sure I see much value there. And from there, Jackson probably departs the organization at some point in the offseason.
  • It’s a real shame that it has come to this. A shame for the front office that committed big, early to Jackson*. A shame for Jackson, who has been giving it his best, then always facing the media, and – by all accounts – being a tremendous teammate.
  • *(Which, by the way, is not to say I buy the “committed too early” in the rebuild to Jackson stuff. If he’d been good, even if the team stunk longer than expected, he could have been traded, and all would be well. The misjudgment, if there was one, was in selecting Jackson, himself, as the backup option to Anibal Sanchez two years ago.)
  • Improving the neural processing of Cubs hitters using video games? Yup, glad to hear it.
  • Your latest national the-Cubs-could-be-good-in-2015 take comes from Richard Justice, who mentions one aspect that we’re going to see (and will annoy some of you): Cubs fans everywhere. We’ve talked about the bandwagon effect before, and how it’s particularly prominent in the Cubs’ world, but it still doesn’t bother me.
  • Welington Castillo took a foul ball off of his left, upper rib/back area yesterday, and had to leave the game. He was thereafter taken for x-rays and an MRI, per Cubs.com. It’s being called a rib contusion for now.
  • Every single game write-up of yesterday’s game was titled some variation of “Clayton Kershaw Beats Cubs for 20th Win.” And folks say, “I know pitching W/L isn’t a great stat, but you don’t get to 20 wins if you aren’t pitching pretty well.” I respond, “Even if that’s true, why try to justify pitcher W/L record that kind of backwards way? If a guy is pitching well, we already knew he was pitching well. Kershaw’s numbers are among the best ever, and I sure as heck didn’t need to see him reach 20 ‘wins’ to know it.” And then we spiral down the wormhole again. That debate, man. Riles me up more than just about any other baseball debate. Jeff Samardzija is 6-12 this year – where are those same folks to say that, “I know pitching W/L isn’t a great stat, but you don’t go 6-12 if you aren’t pitching a little poorly.”
  • That Dodger win, by the way, coupled with a Pirates win over the Brewers, clinched a playoff spot for the Dodgers.

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