Friday, April 5, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Braves 4, Cubs 1
By Jesse Rogers
ATLANTA -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Cubs' 4-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Friday night at Turner Field.
How it happened: Pitcher Scott Feldman played with fire in his Cubs debut, giving up walks, hits, wild pitches and even a hit batter. He was all over the place, hitting the dirt in front of catcher Welington Castillo frequently. He gave up four runs in less than five innings of work, including a home run to Justin Upton in the first inning. Scott Hairston homered for the Cubs but that was the extent of their offense against lefty Mike Minor. Anthony Rizzo struck out three times.
What it means: There were doubts about Feldman coming off a rough spring -- even manager Dale Sveum said he failed to have a good outing -- but he mostly just got hit in the Cactus League. On Friday his control was a mess, hence the walks, wild pitches and hit batter. Plus, the Braves stole three bases on him. With an anemic Cubs offense that’s just too many extra bases to be giving up. Speaking of offense, the Cubs aren’t getting any, even in warmer weather. Sveum wants some slugging percentage in the lineup but the Cubs managed only a solo home run, a double and three singles. He may have to switch things up against southpaws.
Key moment: Down just 2-1 in the fifth, and having already walked and hit a batter in the inning, Feldman had a chance to get out of a bases-loaded jam, but he gave up a 3-2 base hit to Juan Franciso which broke the game open.
Under the radar: Reliever Michael Bowden came on in relief of Feldman with two men on in the fifth inning and got out of the jam. He proceeded to get the next six hitters as well for a perfect 2.1 innings on the mound.
Curious moment: After a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning, 205-pound catcher Dioner Navarro tried to steal second with two outs and the Cubs down 4-1. He was out.
What’s next: The 2-2 Cubs take on the Braves in Game 2 of the series on Saturday night, marking Carlos Villanueva’s debut on the mound.