Friday, May 24, 2013
Feldman helps with bat, hurts with arm
By Mark Schmetzer Special to ESPNChicago.com
CINCINNATI -- The glow of Scott Feldman's first career home run didn't last very long.
What tarnished it left him and manager Dale Sveum somewhat frustrated.
The Cubs' right-hander gave Chicago a 3-0 lead with a two-run homer in the second inning. He gave it up by throwing a hanging curveball on a full count with two outs to catcher Ryan Hanigan with pitcher Bronson Arroyo on deck. Hanigan capitalized with a three-run homer to left field that capped Cincinnati's five-run fourth inning and helped send the Cubs to a 7-4 loss before a sellout crowd of 40,716 -- many of them, as usual, Chicago fans -- at Great American Ball Park.
Scott Feldman made a bad decision on a 3-and-2 pitch in the fourth inning after hitting a two-run homer to give the Cubs a lead earlier.
"That was a really bonehead pitch," said Feldman (4-4), who saw his personal winning streak end at four over his previous five starts. "With the pitcher on deck, I threw the one pitch he can hit for a three-run homer. That one stings a little bit."
Sveum lamented how close Feldman was to having a very satisfactory outcome for himself and the Cubs, who saw their losing streak reach a season-high five games while dropping a season-worst 11 games below .500.
"He was one pitch away from having a good outing -- a 3-2 hanging curveball with the pitcher coming up," Sveum said. "That was a bad mistake at the wrong time in a situation where he didn't even have to throw a strike."
Feldman, who made only five plate appearances while spending all or parts of his previous eight seasons in the American League with the Texas Rangers, rolled through the first three innings, needing 34 pitches and facing only 10 batters. Feldman, a left-handed batter, capped Chicago's three-run second with a 366-foot shot into the right-field seats for what he said was the first homer of his professional career.
"It felt good," he said. "Now it doesn't feel like I hit a homer at all, but it felt good at the time. I could go the rest of my career without a home run if it means we win games."
Feldman's home run was the Cubs' first on the road in almost a month. Chicago hadn't hit a home run in six games covering two series since Dioner Navarro's solo shot in the ninth inning of the Cubs' 6-4 loss on April 28 at Miami.
The homer also ended up being the Cubs' biggest hit of the night, which Sveum finds is becoming an all-too-common outcome. The RBIs gave Cubs pitchers 15 this month, the most by any previous Chicago staff in a month since combining for 15 in August 1937.
"Four runs and the pitcher provides two of them," he said. "Not a whole lot, again. We scratched a couple of other ones out, but we didn't have any big crooked numbers."
Such as the Reds' in the fourth inning, which started with a one-out, opposite-field solo homer to left-center by Joey Votto. Brandon Phillips followed with a single, and one out later, Todd Frazier walked. Xavier Paul lined a 3-2 pitch to center field to drive in Phillips and set up Hanigan's tie-breaking drive into the left-field seats.
"I felt fine," said Feldman, who threw 40 pitches in the inning. "The ball that Votto hit was a good pitch. He was kind of selling out on the location. There were two or three other pitches I'd like to have back. They caught too much of the plate. It came down to one pitch, but I had earlier opportunities to get out of that inning."
Third baseman Luis Valbuena, who came into the game hitless in his past nine at-bats, doubled in the second and scored the Cubs' first run, and singled to center to drive in Ryan Sweeney with the last run in the eighth, but he was the only Chicago player with more than one hit.
Phillips' two-run homer off Hector Rondon in the bottom of the eighth gave the Reds breathing room, which made it easier for them to watch Aroldis Chapman allow two Cubs to reach base with one out and No. 3 hitter Anthony Rizzo coming to the plate. Rizzo, hitless in his past 21 at-bats, struck out looking on a long-delayed Strike 3 call from plate umpire Tim McClelland. Pinch-hitter Alfonso Soriano also struck out on a swing he tried to check to end the game.
Sveum was asked if Rizzo might need a day off to clear his head.