Edwin Jackson Has a Solid Start, But ...

Las Vegas pitchers don't care much for Cashman Field their home base, where the desert air and altitude sometimes combine to thwart their best efforts. But if the effort isn't exactly that, don't tell it to manager Jerry Royster. "I don't want to hear about the park," says Jerry. "It's that fast ball down the middle that bothers me." Which is what Edwin Jackson heard about even after he made one of his better starts in awhile Sunday.

Jackson, the prime candidate for recall if another starter is needed in L.A. was proceeding in fine fashion against Colorado Springs, having allowed only three hits and one run through the first five innings. However, with one out, two runners got on and Jackson went 3-2 on Andy Tracy, then threw his heater which had been reaching 95 all afternoon. Unfortunately, he put it right in Tracy's kitchen whereupon the Springs slugger deposited it over the right field wall, 340 feet away. Enter Royster, exit Jackson.

"When I went to the mound, I told him about that," said Jerry. "You have to make a more competitive pitch. You don't need to throw it down the middle. That was a mistake. It was him against a good hitter and he lost. He pitched okay but he's got to do better."

Overall, though, Jackson wasn't that unhappy with his performance. "I'm a power pitcher and today I was able to establish my fast ball on both sides of the plate. I started good. I just didn't finish it the way I should."

At these times, it is best to remember that Jackson is only 21 years old and has made quantum leaps in his career to be in the spot where he now resides. His 4-1 victory over Arizona and Randy Johnson on his 20th birthday in 2003 has become part of Dodger lore. So much so, that everyone has been impatient for a sequel since.

Jackson himself won't allow that he has perhaps been pushed too fast but will admit that the learning process is very much in force every time he goes to the mound. So, in the meantime, fans should take heart in the fact that his shoulder which bothered him all season is fine now, his velocity is up and his other pitches are coming.

The lessons will be hard at times but on Sunday he learned that pitching is like real estate -- location, location, location.