This weekend the Cubs and Braves will share the spotlight in Atlanta with the NCAA basketball Final Four in town. But on Friday evening it was all Braves with the tomahawk chop in full swing. Mike Minor had the Cubs hitters off balance practically all night. When he did give up a hit, it seemed like he followed that up with a double play ball.
Minor would give up five knocks in all over 7 1/3 innings pitched while striking out seven Cubs. The lone mistake was a solo homer given up to Scott Hairston. The Cubs right fielder yanked one down the left field line for his first hit and long ball as a Cub. Meanwhile Scott Feldman brought with him his struggles from Spring Training. To be fair he did look like he was going to tip toe his way through trouble early on, keeping the Braves to two runs.
But a combination of walks, wild pitches, and an error by the Cubs starter did not help his own cause. One of the four walks Feldman issued on the night was of the lead off variety in the bottom of the fifth. The Cubs righty would eventually give up a bases loaded two out, two run single to Juan Francisco on a 3-2 pitch to put the home team up 4-1.
Looking for a silver lining or some positive news? Michael Bowden had an outstanding relief appearance, keeping the Cubs in the game with a scoreless three strikeout effort over 2 1/3 innings. Hector Rondon also had a solid outing, chipping in a two K inning of work and carrying over his good Cactus League form.
The Cubs fell to 2-2 on the season and send Carlos Villanueva to the mound Saturday evening to try to get back in the win column.