Epstein knows importance of good start for Cubs
PITTSBURGH — The Cubs have talked a lot about getting off to a good start, especially in the wake of last year's 61-101 record.
But 1-0 after Monday's tense 3-1 victory isn't the kind of "good start" the Cubs have in mind. Something along the lines of 6-4, 7-3 or 12-8 will constitute a good start for this bunch.
A winning start should set a positive tone for this club and build confidence. Team president Theo Epstein talked about it before Monday's game.
"I think you take a realistic assessment of where you are in the standings relative to your opposition, the quality of your own club, the health of your own club," Epstein said. "You make an assessment at that time. I think that a good start is important for many reasons.
"One is that we haven't had good starts around here as a rule. A good start can create momentum in and of itself that maybe transcends where it puts you in the standings because there is a confidence that builds.
"Players start to get a sense of destiny. Those close games can really start to go your way when you believe. Conversely, a bad start can put you in a position where those things are harder to come by.
"A good start is really important, especially with us. We're facing a tough schedule early, which means our schedule is easier later. And we're banged up right now."
Jackson ready for action:
Right-hander Edwin Jackson will make his Cubs debut in Wednesday night's second game of the series. Temperatures are supposed to hit the mid-20s before the night is over.
Jackson will have a tough act to follow in opening-day starter Jeff Samardzija, who tossed 8 scoreless innings Monday.
"He went out there, he set the tone," Jackson said. "He definitely set the table for the following pitchers. We just continue to try and pull on each other's coattails and continue to pitch well."
During spring training, Jackson was 1-2 with a 5.25 ERA. He was 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA for Washington last year. The Cubs signed him to a four-year, $53 million contract in January.
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