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Bad start could get worse
Edwin Jackson lasts one-third of an inning and doesn't exactly get a vote of confidence from Joe Maddon.
By EDUARDO A. ENCINA
Published June 14, 2007
[Brian Cassella | Times]
The Rays were hitless when Carl Crawford fanned in the fourth.
ST. PETERSBURG - Despite Edwin Jackson's maddening inconsistency on the mound, the Rays pitcher insists his confidence hasn't wavered.
But after the shortest outing by a Tampa Bay starter this season in the Rays' 9-0 loss to the Padres at Tropicana Field on Wednesday night, the team's confidence in the 23-year-old right-hander might not be so strong.
After lasting only one-third of an inning, Jackson was pulled eight batters into the game, walking off the mound to a chorus of boos and trailing by five runs before the Rays' first at-bat.
After the game, manager Joe Maddon, Jackson's biggest supporter during a see-saw season, wasn't certain whether the pitcher would make his next scheduled start Monday.
"I'm not going to say that he is, I'm not going to say that he's not right now, " Maddon said. "We're always evaluating stuff."
The loss ended the three-game winning streak for the Rays (29-34) but raised more questions about Jackson, who has struggled to find his rhythm early in games.
"He just needs to get into the flow of things, " Maddon said. "When he's able to do that, he normally pitches deep into a game. Otherwise he's out in the second inning a lot of times."
Jackson's 0-8 record to start the season tied a franchise record and is the longest current losing streak in the AL and second longest in the majors.
"I haven't lost any confidence, " said Jackson, who said this has been his most frustrating year in baseball. "It's been hard. It's been a tough year. Of all the times I've struggled, things have happened this year that haven't happened in the past. I go out to every game the same, thinking that I'm going to come out with the win.
Jackson, who hasn't won a game since Sept. 26, 2005, has allowed four runs or more in nine of his 12 starts, but he also owns four quality starts, two in his past three outings heading into Wednesday.
"Something happens and then you're back to Point A all over again. That's the toughest part, " Jackson said. "You have a good game and you're telling yourself, 'Here we go, ' and then boom, something else happens where you're back to Point A all over again. Keep throwing. That's all I can do."
Jackson needed 42 pitches to retire just one batter. Home runs by Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff ruined Jackson's bid.
Jackson allowed singles to Marcus Giles and Termel Sledge to open the game, setting the stage for Gonzalez's three-run homer. After striking out cleanup hitter Josh Bard, Jackson yielded a single to Mike Cameron and a two-run homer to Kouzmanoff.
When Jackson walked the next two hitters, Maddon walked slowly to the mound to remove him.
Newcomer Jason Hammel, a possible replacement for Jackson in the rotation, allowed three runs in 62/3 innings and struck out eight.
"It was a quality start out of the pen is the way I see it, " said Hammel, who made his first appearance out of the bullpen.
Jake Peavy held the Rays - playing with just 11 position players with Elijah Dukes absent and B.J. Upton ailing - hitless until Carlos Pena's single off the rightfield wall led off the fifth. Peavy yielded two hits in seven innings.