More of the same from the Cubs offense tonight in Atlanta as they could only manage five hits and one run in a 4-1 loss. Sure Mike Minor was pounding the zone, but Cubs hitters made things way too easy on Braves pitching by having way too many aggressive at bats. The Cubs have two losses now, both with the “lefty lineup” on display, meaning DeJesus and Schierholtz on the bench. Not saying that they would have made a difference, but the Cubs always seem to struggle against lefties. Scott Feldman was all over the place, but battled, the result was being over 100 pitches and out the game before the end of the fifth inning. It’s not the end of the World, the Cubs are 2-2 which is probably a fair record at this point, if not better than it should be given the offensive struggles.
At The Plate – Another night, another low number in the hit column for the Cubs. Alfonso Soriano, Scott Hairston, Welington Castillo, and Alberto Gonzalez were all 1-for-3. Hairston provided the only offense of the night with a solo home run in the fifth inning off of Minor.
On The Mound – Scott Feldman made his Cubs debut and really never settled into a groove. For the most part he was able to pitch around trouble but couldn’t get out of the 5th. Feldman went 4.2 innings giving up four runs on five hits while walking four and striking out one. The bright spot was the bullpen, Michael Bowden and Hector Rondon shut the door over the last 2.1 innings but it was to no avail.
Up Next – Carlos Villanueva will make his Cubs debut opposite Julio Teheran at 6:00 PM CST. The Cubs will have their hands full again as Teheran is a high-class talent that will give them fits if they aren’t patient.
Stat Of The Night – The Cubs have 16 hits in the first four games of the season.
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Consider this a stiff test for the Cubs, nothing against the Pirates, but the Braves are a different animal. The weather should be much nicer than it was in Pittsburgh so hopefully that means that Cubs bats will heat up with the temperatures as they have been cold as ice so far. That said, the Cubs enter the series with a 2-1 record, the same as the Braves, below you will find all the important information pertaining to the upcoming series, everything you need to know in one convenient place.
Cubs won two out of three against the Pirates in Pittsburgh
Braves won two out of three against the Phillies at home
Game Times and Broadcast Information:
- Friday, April 5, 2013 – 6:30 PM CST on CSN+ (click to find your channel), MLBN
- Saturday, April 6, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on WGN TV
- Sunday, April 7, 2013 – 12:35 PM CST on CSN Chicago
Starting Pitchers Scheduled:
Game One – Scott Feldman (0-0, 0.00)
– Career vs. Atlanta (1 GS) (0-0, 2.57 ERA)
Game Two – Carlos Villanueva (0-0, 0.00)
– Career vs. Atlanta (10 appearances, 1 GS) (1-2, 7.20 ERA)
Game Three – Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 0.00)
– Career vs. Atlanta (8 appearances, 2 GS) (2-0, 2.66 ER)
Game One – Mike Minor (0-0, 0.00)
– Career vs. Cubs (4 GS) (4-0, 4.30 ERA)
Game Two – Julio Teheran (0-0, 0.00)
– Career vs. Cubs (First appearance)
Game Three – Tim Hudson (0-0, 6.23)
– Career vs. Cubs (6 GS) (2-1, 3.44 ER)
Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:
For the Cubs, the entire offense is frigid, only scoring six runs over the first three games of the season. They aren’t getting hits either as they have the worst team batting average in all of baseball at .121, they don’t ask how, just how many when it comes to wins….or something like that. Closest thing resembling a hot hitter would be Nate Schierholtz, Nate had a huge two-run homer yesterday, and is hitting .333 on the season. The Cubs pitching has been fantastic, well Cubs pitching not including anyone named Carlos Marmol. The Cubs are 8th in the Majors with a 2.08 team ERA, a big reason why they are 2-1.
The Braves have as many home runs as the Cubs do runs (six). Freddie Freeman is on a mission in the early going, hitting .500 (5-for-10) with one double, one home run, and six RBI’s. One of the Braves newcomers isn’t finding things so easy, B.J. Upton has been slow out of the gate going 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts. The Braves are hovering around the middle of the pack when it comes to team ERA with a respectable 3.00, surprisingly Tim Hudson isn’t helping as his only start was a rough one where he gave up three runs in 4.1 innings of work.
Look for the Cubs bats to get healthier in this series despite having to face two young stars in Minor and Teheran, and one solid veteran in Hudson. Unfortunately the Braves will continue their hot hitting and take two out of three from the Cubs this weekend.
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Marmol coaster! It’s too early in the year for this kind of drama. The Cubs once again couldn’t find much offense, but managed just enough to get the win with Nate Scheirhioltz providing the big blow, a two-run homer in the ninth inning which the Cubs ended up needing. Travis Wood was outstanding in his first start of 2013 but had to sit on the edge of his seat with the rest of us as Carlos Marmol came within a small unit of measurement of blowing it. After allowing the Pirates to score twice in the ninth, Marmol got Alvarez to strikeout, and Walker to hit into a double play, never a doubt, Cubs win three to two…… Nice series win for the Cubs to start the season.
At The Plate – The Cubs only had two hits last night, today they had three, at least the result was different. Starling Castro was 1-for-4 with an RBI on the day and has the honor of being the first Cubs player to get a hit with a runner in scoring position this year, yep. Nate Schierholtz was the offensive hero going 1-for-3 with a walk, a run, and two RBI’s which came on a huge two-run homer in the top of the ninth to give the Cubs a three run cushion.
On The Mound – Travis Wood was outstanding this morning/afternoon, Wood went six scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking two and striking out four to earn his first win of the season, barely. Shawn Camp, James Russell, and Kyuji Fujikawa were very good out of the bullpen as they tossed a combined two scoreless innings, giving up no hits, no walks, and struck out three. Cue the circus music… enter Carlos Marmol. Marmol wasn’t very good, again, as he gave up two runs on three hits while walking one and striking out one, but battled and ended up “earning” his first save of the season.
Stat Of The Night – The Cubs team ERA is 2.08, Carlos Marmol’s ERA is 20.25
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Matt Garza really can’t figure out this pitching on the road thing. Garza fell to 2-6 on the road as the Braves knocked around the Cubs starter en route to a 7-3 victory to finish the four game series with a split. Things were really over before they started tonight as the Braves made Garza throw 44 pitches in an exhausting first inning. A pair of two-run homers did the trick for Atlanta, one by Jason Heyward, and one by Brian McCann to put the Braves up 4-0 at the end of one. The Cubs got their first hit and their first run of the game in the fifth when Geovany Soto hit his 6th home run of the season to make it 5-1 Atlanta. The Braves got that run right back in the bottom half of the fifth to make it 6-1, but the Cubs weren’t dead yet. A Reed Johnson pinch hit RBI single, and a throwing error by Heyward in the 6th brought the Cubs back within three but that’s as close as they would get. Garza finished the night only making it through four innings, giving up five runs on five hits, three of which were home runs while walking three and striking out six. Mike Minor had his way with the Cubs lineup, as most lefties do, as the Cubs only managed five hits on the night. Anthony Rizzo extended his hitting streak to six games by going 1-for-4 with a single. The Cubs will finish off the first half in New York against the Mets this weekend, full box score and highlights after the jump.
The Cubs look to win the series from the Braves as they send Matt Garza to the hill to take on Mike Minor. The Cubs have already clinched the season series from the Braves, taking three out of four would be the exclamation point. Here’s how the Cubs will line up.
1. DeJesus CF
2. Castro SS
3. Rizzo 1B
4. Soriano LF
5. LaHair RF
6. Soto C
7. Barney 2B
8. Valbuena 3B
9. Garza P
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The Cubs are riding quite possibly their best streak of the 2012 season as they roll into Atlanta for a four game series. Winning five of their last six, the Cubs have been getting solid pitching and clutch hitting, the timely hits have mostly come from Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo has played five major league games for the Cubs, the Cubs are 4-1 in those games with Rizzo getting the game winning hit in three of them. The Braves have actually been better on the road then at home where they have an 18-20 record. In order for the Cubs to keep rolling they are going to have to shut down a rather potent Atlanta offense, the Braves have scored the 4th most runs in the National League. As long as the Cubs stay patient they should have a pretty good look at the Braves pitching staff, as they have walked the 5th most guys in the National League. Finally some exciting baseball, let’s hope the Cubs can continue their strong play and at worst earn a split in Atlanta. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.