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Zambrano spares us from tantrum

Carlos Zambrano recorded just four outs on Monday and left the game with an ERA of 54. Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

ATLANTA -- Game One, Year One was a hideous one for the Chicago Cubs on Monday. And, because they're the Cubs, it was not merely hideous but historically hideous.

Their 16-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves marked the worst loss for a Cubs team on Opening Day since 1884. That team lost 15-3 to New York, ended up finishing the season 62-50 and did not have to suffer the indignity of repeated replays on SportsCenter that night.

But for those scoring at home, there is an even more unsightly Cubesque stat: In the past 100 years, only one team has allowed 13 or more runs on Opening Day [the 2006 A's] and made the playoffs.

Yes, it is early as they say. And the Cubs said it many times as the sun began to set early Monday evening. But the epic quality -- or lack thereof -- of this loss seemed toxic in nature, seeping into nearly every area after starter Carlos Zambrano's implosion -- hitting [five hits for a team batting average of .167], fielding [two errors], baserunning [two runners were doubled off first base], at least half the bullpen [six walks between Jeff Samardzija and Justin Berg in 1 1/3 inning].

Spotted three runs in the top half of the first when Marlon Byrd launched a three-run home run in his first at-bat as a Cub [a first since Henry Rodriguez did it in 1998], Zambrano walked the first Braves' batter and it was pretty much over from there.

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