Defense doesn't help Berken in debut

September, 15, 2012
9/15/12
5:57
PM CT
By Sahadev Sharma
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Jason Berken's Chicago Cubs debut didn’t go nearly as smoothly as he’d hoped. However, manager Dale Sveum was quick to point out that the blame for the Cubs’ 7-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday didn’t fall solely on Berken’s shoulders.

[+] EnlargeJason Berken
AP Photo/David BanksJason Berken went four innings in his Cubs debut, allowing six runs, but only two earned.
“He was a victim of a couple errors as well, it could have been a decent little outing,” Sveum said. “Probably would've went five innings, gotten into the fifth giving up only two. But a couple errors cost him pitches and the ability to go five or six today. It wasn't too bad, he didn't really have a breaking ball to go with anything, but his changeup was half way decent. So that was a decent little pitch he had working for him there.”

To his credit, Berken wasn’t looking for any easy excuses and felt he could have done a better job of minimizing the damage caused by the defensive failings. Berken went four innings, giving up six runs (only two earned) while striking out two, walking one and allowing eight hits, including a long home run off the bat of Andrew McCutchen.

Berken, a Green Bay native, left 30 tickets for friends and family and guessed another 15 or so came on their own.

"I think when I was out there warming up today, being on the mound, it hit me, you know, 'I'm at Wrigley,’” Berken said. “It's the same game. It's baseball. I've got to execute. I didn't do that today. But definitely a great experience, for sure. By no means was I taken aback by (the atmosphere) too much."

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jason Hammel
WINS ERA SO IP
8 2.98 104 108
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Rizzo .284
HRA. Rizzo 25
RBIA. Rizzo 56
RA. Rizzo 71
OPSA. Rizzo .917
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOJ. Hammel 104