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CHC@BOS: Jackson holds the Red Sox to one run

With the second half looming, both the Cubs and D-backs have unclear rotations that look shaky at first glance.

The Cubs have only named their starters for their three-game set in Phoenix, while the D-backs haven't announced who will get the ball Friday at Chase Field.

Cubs manager Rick Renteria said before the Cubs' 10-7 loss to the Braves on Sunday that Edwin Jackson will start Friday, with Travis Wood and Jake Arrieta following him against the D-backs.

Jackson, for one, will be looking to turn his season around in the second half.

The 30-year-old veteran is 5-10 this season with a 5.64 ERA. In his last start, the Braves bombed him in 3 2/3 innings, scoring nine runs on seven hits, three of which were home runs.

Renteria said Sunday that the All-Star break is a good time for players to take time off and get some distance from whatever happened during the first half.

"It's important in that you're going to try and step back and take a breath," he said. "I don't know if you're going to completely shut yourself off. It's kind of hard because you've been grinding for four months. So it's kind of hard to shut it down. You might take a deep breath, but I think you're always going to be thinking baseball."

Like Jackson, the Cubs as a whole would like to improve in the second half. Currently buried in the National League Central cellar, the Cubs have shown some life of late, winning two of their last four.

"I would just say more than anything they're building their confidence," Renteria said. "They're playing as a team -- not giving up, continuing to chip away, maintaining an attitude that grinds and doesn't take any deficit or any part of the game [and] allow it to affect them to an extent where you see them start to fall into a low."

D-backs: All-Star Goldschmidt ends first half strongly
One of two All-Stars on the D-backs, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has been living up to the title since July began.

After his batting average fell to a season-low .296 on June 29, Goldschmidt has been on a tear.

In 12 games, he is batting .395 (17-for-43) with eight doubles, giving him a Major League-leading 36 for the season.

Goldschmidt has been hitting so well that his 0-for-4 outing in Sunday's 8-4 loss to the Giants in San Francisco marked the first time he hadn't reached base in 32 games.

But while Goldschmidt and catcher Miguel Montero travel to Minneapolis for the All-Star Game, manager Kirk Gibson said he wants the rest of the team to get a break in the next few days.

"I want everybody to go and enjoy time, whatever they have planned," he said. "Probably a lot of guys are going to spend time with their families. It's well deserved. Have a nice break. Come back, have a nice workout on Thursday. Have a little talk and then get back after it. Hopefully we can play better in the second half than we did in the first half."

Cubs: Coghlan aiming to continue hot streak into second half
It isn't always about where you start -- it's about where you finish. Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan is hoping that's true, because after a rough beginning of the season, he is hitting the cover off the ball.

As late as June 26, Coghlan's batting average was sitting below the Mendoza line. But after Sunday's 2-for-4 performance against the Braves, he has that number up to .275.

In his last eight games before the All-Star break, Coghlan hit .452 (14-for-31), knocked three out of his five home runs this season and drove in nine runs.

"He's been taking advantage of the opportunity," Renteria said. "He's had really good at-bats. He's been grinding. He's been working very hard. Like anything, as his offense has started to pick up, his confidence continues to grow.

"Fortunately for us, it's something that's kind of clicked, and hopefully it continues." Comments