Feldman and the Cubs Run Into a Minor Problem in Atlanta – Cubs 1, Braves 4

Game Four – Cubs 1, Braves 4

WP – Mike Minor (1-0) LP – Scott Feldman (0-1) Save – Craig Kimbrel (2)

The Cubs began the three-game series in Atlanta with a loss on Friday night. The Cubs could not figure out Mike Minor, who improved to 5-0 against the Cubs in his young career, while Scott Feldman had a bad night in his Cubs’ debut.

Scott Feldman lasted only 4 2/3 innings and struggled in just about every aspect of his game. Feldman gave up four runs on five hits with four walks, a hit batsman, two wild pitches, one strikeout and an error. Feldman surrendered a home run to Justin Upton in the first inning and was lifted with two outs in the fifth after throwing 102 pitches, 53 for strikes.

Michael Bowden made his second appearance of the year. Bowden retired all seven batters he faced over 2 1/3 innings. Bowden threw only 30 pitches, 22 for strikes. With the long stretch of games, Bowden really helped save the Cubs’ pen.

Hector Rondon struggled a little in the eighth inning. Rondon hit Reed Johnson and gave up a single to Evan Gattis but he struck out two of the five batters he faced in his second big league appearance.

Scott Hairston (1-for-3 with a home run) was the Cubs’ offense on Friday night. Hairston hit his first longball in a Cubs’ uniform and cut the Braves’ lead to 2-1 in the fifth. The Cubs offense managed only five hits and not a single walk on Friday night while striking out nine times. Alberto Gonzalez (1-for-3 with a double) recorded the Cubs’ first hit in the third and Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3) collected a hit. The Cubs were just 0-for-2 with RISP and left one runner on base.

With Friday’s loss, the Cubs dropped back to .500 at 2-2 on the young season.

The Braves jumped ahead in the first inning after Mike Minor retired the Cubs in order on nine pitches, seven for strikes, to start the game. Scott Feldman looked very good against Andrelton Simmons and Jason Heyward. But he could not get a 0-2 pitch past Justin Upton. Upton lined the low 0-2 offering over the wall in left center. Upton’s third longball of the season gave the Braves a 1-0 lead. Freddie Freeman then reached on an infield single … the Cubs were in the shift and Freeman hit the ball where the third baseman would have been, Castro fielded the ball in short left. B.J. Upton popped a 3-0 pitch to Rizzo in foul ground to end the inning.

Scott Feldman threw 22 pitches in the first, 13 for strikes, and it was pretty apparent after the Upton homer that he would have a short night.

Feldman made it through the second inning without allowing any runs … then struggled in the third.

Andrelton Simmons walked to start the third. Heyward popped out to Castillo behind the plate for the first out. Simmons took off for second on the first pitch to Justin Upton. Welington Castillo made a strong, accurate throw, but Alberto Gonzalez was too far in front of the bag to apply the tag. Feldman then uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Simmons to take third, Justin Upton drove a 2-2 pitch out to right. Hairston hauled it in but Simmons scored easily … 2-0 Braves. Feldman walked Freddie Freeman then uncorked his second wild pitch of the inning on the first pitch to B.J. Upton. Freeman took second but was stranded when B.J. looked at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Braves scored a run in the third without a hit … one run on two walks, a sac fly and two wild pitches.

Mike Minor retired the Cubs in order in the fourth … just 46 pitches, 33 strikes, for Minor through four innings.

Scott Feldman labored through a long fourth inning, but somehow kept the Braves from scoring. Dan Uggla fouled out to Lillibridge to start the inning. Juan Francisco grounded a 2-2 pitch to the hole at second. Rizzo fielded and threw to Feldman … but Feldman did not touch the bag and Francisco reached on the error. Evan Gattis followed with a single to right. With runners on first and second and one down, Mike Minor bunted a 3-1 pitch too hard … and right back to the mound. Feldman fielded the ball and forced Francisco at third. Andrelton Simmons then dribbled a 2-1 pitch to the first base side of the mound, Feldman fielded and tossed to Rizzo to end the inning … 74 pitches for Feldman after four, 40 for strikes.

Scott Hairston put the Cubs on the board in the fifth. Hairston lined a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left but the 2-1 score would not last long.

Scott Feldman started the fifth, but could not complete the inning. Feldman walked Jason Heyward (3-1 pitch) to start the inning. Justin Upton flied out to center. Heyward stole second then advanced to third when Freeman grounded out to Castro in the shift. Feldman hit B.J. Upton with a 0-1 pitch then walked Dan Uggla on four pitches after B.J. Upton stole second to load the bases with two down.

Juan Francisco put the game away with a single to left on a 3-2 pitch. Heyward and B.J. Upton scored, 4-1 Braves. Dale Sveum made the slow walk and brought in Michael Bowden. Bowden retired Evan Gattis on a grounder to second to end the inning.

Michael Bowden retired all seven batters he faced on Friday night. And Hector Rondon kept the Braves off the board in the eighth. The Cubs offense simply could not mount any sort of rally against Mike Minor, Ryan Flaherty or Craig Kimbrel.

Carlos Villanueva makes his Cubs’ debut on Saturday night against rookie Julio Teheran.

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  • Ripsnorter1

    I can’t figure out how Sveum has chosen Feldman as his #4 starter. Villanueva is a better starter, has better stuff, and is better in every way.

    It reminds me of last year. He had Volstad as his #4, and a better pitcher, Maholm, as his #5.

    What gives?

    • Ray Ray

      Feldman won’t last long. Did you see his stuff? One K. His breaking stuff doesn’t have much bite, and his fastball doesn’t have movement. Not a good combination. He will get 3 more starts and when Garza is ready…..Mr. Feldman will be out.

    • gary3411

      Is there a difference? Zach Greinke was the Dodgers’ 4th starter.

    • triple

      I think you’re right about all of that… Let’s hope that Villanueva proves that tonight.

  • Tony_Hall

    4 games into the season, and by the comments you would think we were 0-4.

    2-2 is pretty good for this team.

    The pitching has been good and I like the bullpen….minus 1 guy who is going to be given more time to see if he remembers where the strike zone is located. Fujikawa looks like the real deal and a bargain at that rate. Camp and Russell are both in the right roles. Bowden and Rondon have both looked better then expected. I think they found a keeper in Rondon. The rotation has had 2 great outings from Samardzija and Wood and one ok outing from Jackson. Feldman was left in too long, otherwise he could of left with a respectable, yet unimpressive outing. PFP….PFP….get to the line and run parallel to the line. Never seen a pitcher run to the back corner of the bag like that. Garza come back healthy, please. If he does the rotation won’t be the negative on this team, that’s for sure. Looking to watching Villanueva pitch tonight.

    Now to the bats or lack thereof. Lillibridge makes Barney look like an offensive powerhouse. He makes me feel like I could get hits. He did have 1 impressive AB in Pittsburgh, but that is it. This team needs a few players on offense and that isn’t going to change for awhile. Only 4 player hitting over 200 through 4 games. I’m gonna give them another week here, as Pittsburgh was tough conditions and I like Minor as a pitcher. The Braves are a playoff team this year. A team that has the foundation from their system and very good additions from outside the team with Heyward, Freeman, Simmons, Uggla, Upton brothers, McCann, Kimbrel, Minor, Medlen, Beachy, Hudson. And that bullpen is great with Kimbrel, O’Flaherty, Walden. Venters is still coming back.

    It’s going to be another long season, this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone reading this.

    • Ray Ray

      Yes it will be another long season! One other point. Anthony Rizzo has a long way to go to be a long term #3 hitter. That Cashner trade is still no slam dunk. I hope Rizzo shows he can hit lefties. Joey Votto he is definately not.

      • Tony_Hall

        I don’t believe anyone has compared him to Joey Votto, who is the best 1B in the game. The trade is a slam dunk, Rizzo is a Top 15 1B already, less than 1 year into his career. I feel he will be a Top 10 1B during his career.

        • Ray Ray

          It is a slam dunk? Just like the Garza deal who you argue it will take 5 years to judge that deal? Anyway…..if Rizzo continues to hit around the Mendoza line against LHP(which is what he has been) he cannot be a #3 hitter. He could turn into a platoon and Cashner still has a gifted arm. Rizzo hasn’t even been Bryan LaHair yet in the majors. He has a huge huge way to go to be even a top 10 1st baseman or even a top 15.

          • Tony_Hall

            How does the Garza deal look now? He is almost a free agent and hasn’t taken the Cubs to the playoffs. He is injured and is value has never been lower.

            Cashner is and always will be one throw from done. A great arm he has, and I hope that he turns into a great one for the Padres, but I would do that trade again without even thinking twice. Absolute no brainer.

          • Ray Ray

            I love how you are so sure of trades when you want them to go in your favor. You are sure Archer and Lee will be good and productive MLB players. You are sure Rizzo will be a top 10 1st baseman…but Cashner’s career is cut in stone and won’t. By the way, What are the powerball numbers for tonight?

          • Tony_Hall

            I hope and wish that Cashner can start and win lots of games for the Padres. He doesn’t need to fail for the trade to be good for the Cubs. Either way, giving up an arm with an injury history for a starting 1B is fine by me.

            I am not sure that any prospect will ever make it (you need lots of prospects to get one good one), but I didn’t like giving up prospects for a SP, about to get expensive and would be a free agent before the team would be competitive again.

            15/22/26/33/35 – 18

            Split it with me if they win.

          • Ray Ray

            I appreciate our discussions and I hope you don’t take anything I say personal. We just disagree on a lot of topics. I of course want to see the Cubs win sooner rather than later. I believe the quickest way to win is with starting pitching. I think Cashner can be special. I have a huge question mark thinking Rizzo can be special. He doesn’t hit lefties well. Can that change? Maybe. But I feel 1st baseman are a dime a dozen. Top of the rotation starters are not. Cashner can be a top of the rotation starter. I emphasize the word CAN. Will he? Maybe. But I feel as if with the lack of starting pitching in the free agent market the next couple of years and the lack of starting pitching in the minors for the Cubs…..They would be closer to competing with a rotation of
            E Jackson
            With Vizcaino hopefully competing for a spot in 2014. At this point…I would extend Garza and you now have 3 legit power arms in Shark,Cashner and Garza who you would control for the next 3 years(at least) Will Rizzo help them make the playoffs in the next 3 years with what they have now in the rotation? Cashner could be better than anyone they can aquire via trade or free agency. They can aquire a 1st baseman very comparable to the numbers Rizzo will put up a lot easier.

          • Tony_Hall

            I enjoy our conversations as well, and don’t take it personal.

            I think the only way the Garza trade makes sense is to extend him. Then we get value back for the prospects we gave up. Now, it has to be plus value above his salary, but his salary demands will all depend on this year.

            Shark, Garza, EJackson, Vizcaion, Wood is pretty competitive. I also expect another arm to be ready by mid next season, which one I am not sure, but Rusin could easily be the guy, Cabrera, etc.

          • Tony_Hall

            So the real question is did you by a lottery ticket with my numbers and are we splitting!

          • Tony_Hall

            Make me a list of 1B you would like over Rizzo. Let me know if you get to 15…I don’t think you will.

            They must be 1B, not starters at other positions who sometimes play 1B. You might not even get to 10, without including players who would be about the same level as Rizzo.

          • Ray Ray

            Weren’t you also sure about Bryan LaHair last year as well? Weren’t you wanting to cut Soriano, eat his salary, and put LaHair in left for the next couple of years?

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t know about sure, but I thought he deserved a shot, and he failed…next.

            Yes on Soriano, if you go back before he went to a lighter bat, that Soriano, who couldn’t run, waived at any slider no matter where it was located and played horrible defense…yes I wanted him gone. This Soriano who has been coached by this coaching staff, who listened and went to a lighter bat and improved his defense, no, I don’t want him gone. And yes if they did get rid of Soriano, Lahair could play LF to bridge the gap until someone else came along, but as previously said, he failed.

    • GaryLeeT

      Feldman and Marmol can be replaced. Less those 2, the staff is not half bad. But the hitting……yikes. If we get a sophomore slump from Rizzo, and Soriano hits like his age dictates he should, then they are again a 100 loss team. The plan all along has been to get 2 high first rounders like the Nats got. This sausage making is depressing to watch.

      • Tony_Hall

        They already are replaced. Marmol is done, and he knows it. Feldman is a short timer. If everything goes well with other starters he is the long man in the bullpen. As bad as he did last night, he almost escaped giving up very little. Upton’s HR was a good pitch that was hit by a good hitter. The 2nd run was without a hit. And he should have been removed in the 5th before giving up 2 runs.

        Who cares how may losses this team ends up with by the end of the year. Bottom line, if the team is not in the playoff hunt come July 31st, they will sell off everything that is a short term asset to get longer term assets and bring up the young guys. Whether they win or loss in August in September and get to 100 losses is totally immaterial at that point.

        • GaryLeeT

          Draft position doesn’t matter?

          • Tony_Hall

            1st, 2nd, 5th….all good picks. The Astros will be 1st playing in that division. If the kids come up and play and win, do you think they will bench them all and play Lillibridge?

          • Ray Ray

            Do you know who the 3,4,5 picks were in 2009 after Stephen Strassburg? Yea….. Me neither.

          • Tony_Hall

            This isn’t football where #1 is going to have a great career 99% of the time.

          • Tony_Hall

            And this may not be the best year to ask who else in the 1st round. Quite a few already have made it and one has been the real best player in the draft at #25. We got BJAX at 31.

            2 Dustin Ackley
            7 Mike Minor
            8 Mike Leake
            9 Jacob Turner
            10 Drew Storen
            19 Shelby Miller

            25 Mike Trout
            31 Brett Jackson

        • bluekoolaidaholic

          Hey Tony,

          I CARE!

          • Ray Ray

            And you should! How many fans of a sports don’t care if their team wins? This having to lose to rebuild with the new rules in the draft is absurd,

          • Tony_Hall

            If the team is not going to make the playoffs by the trade deadline, you care if they stand pat or even worse add on, to try and win a few more games versus selling off whatever they can and bringing up young guys to get experience? I just don’t get the difference between, 65, 70, 75, 80 wins if you don’t make the playoffs.

        • mutantbeast

          Feldman had an 0-2 count on Francisco and cant put him away. Thats why he sucks.

  • Bryan

    I’m sorry, but as an avid fan since the 60’s, and in watching this game in person last night (as I will this evening), this team is a disaster. So if the mindset on the board here is that “don’t worry”, we’ll sell off assets come July, may I ask what assets, besides potentially Garza, have any value to any other team? Truly watching last night I felt I was watching a AA team against a true major league club. Sappelt, Gonzales, Lillebridge…c’mon? And even Soriano looks like he’s on the final tank of gas.

    As franchise fans we get suckered into this mindset that the new regime knows how to do it right. So we wait, hoping that the next 5-tool phenom will brighten the skies. So far we have a decent amount of lower level prospects that may never see a Wrigley appearance based on lack of progression, potential injuries, and the like. In the meantime, what we have as far as the current roster is an embarrassment to the fans and the city…all the while Ricketts is padding the pockets with a much lower payroll.

    I’m sorry, but other teams have figured out how to rebuild without tanking several seasons. But not on the north side of Chicago.

    • Ray Ray

      Bryan. I have said the same. This “blueprint plan” is unchartered territory. Gordon Wiitemeyer was on the Score the other day being critical of how the Cubs are doing it and saying exactly what I have been saying. The days of drafting hard to sign players in the lower round and overpaying them are over! The big market teams can no longer be the big bullies on the block. You need to add better players through free agency! Gordon was not saying the Zach Greinkes but add a Brandon McCarthy instead of Feldman. Every one was critical with me wanting Michael Bourne… But look who we are putting out in cf these days! It is an embarrassment!! By the way Michael Bourne is off to a great start! Fans should be more demanding about the product they are putting out there and not show up to the park until they put a real team on field. 3rd highest ticket prices for this product is ridiculous.

      • Bryan

        Ray Ray…the Cubs looked atrocious last night, and you could easily see the huge gap in talent between the Cubs and Braves. The Cubs had no energy, were just hacking, and candidly Feldman was awful. To your point, and for this product fans pay the 3rd highest ticket prices. I wish someone would start asking Ricketts some tougher questions about his ownership strategy and priorities. So far, his regime is not impressive.

        • Ray Ray

          I watched the game and saw what you saw. I have been a fan since the late 60’s as well. I am on board with the rebuild but I am definately not on board with not trying to win at the same time! This type of rebuild belongs in Pittsburgh,Oakland,Tampa etc……Not Chicago!

    • Tony_Hall

      AA team that just won their 1st series….

      Yes Atlanta is better than this team and this team is not middle of the pack.

      You want to know which assets to sell off in July???

      First tell me which teams are still in it, then tell me which players have gotten injured, under performed for the other teams and which players for the Cubs have had decent seasons or are playing well leading up to the deadline.

      Since that is all impossible to forecast and is over 3 months away, we might want to watch more than 4 games before worrying about who they trade off, other than the obvious targets.

      This team will look different by then, and even more so by September, and I don’t believe Ricketts has padded anything on the financial end at this point, I would say he has spent an awful lot of money to try and rebuild this franchise the right way. It is not going to be a quick turnaround after how the Tribune and then Zell milked it for every dollar they could and neglected as much as they could.

      You don’t have to like what is going on, I don’t like the losing, but prefer this path to the middle of the road path that always goes for this season at the expense of the next season and ends up around 80 wins. At some point (3-5) years, this will change and it will be about this season and they will have to spend future prospects to get players to help the team win in the year they are in.

  • triple

    I’m not worried about last night’s loss. Yes they looked overmatched, and Feldman is lucky that all he gave up was 4 runs. Hell, the 2nd run they gave up was a gimme. But no excuses for Feldman, he’s just got to throw the ball better (and more than 60 feet). He was scared of being hit that many of his pitches were so low. I guess that’s better than a meatball up in the zone. Svuem could’ve managed that game better and gotten Feldman out of there before giving up the 2 last runs, but I don’t think he wants to tax his bullpen this early in the season, but that was inevitable in this one.

    I gotta say that getting 3.1 IP from Bowden and Rondon was impressive. Between them, they got 5k’s and only gave up 1 hit. If they can give us those kind of innings, I think we’ll see the Cubs win some games like this when they’re swinging the bats better.

  • mutantbeast

    Bowden actually pitched well? Gee, I wonder if the team being behind in the game had something to do with it, he only seems to pitch well when the team is losing. And this team is horrid against LHP. Wandy Rodriquez and Mike Minor, two junkball lefties, dazzle you ?