Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder Pound Cubs

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The ironic thing about baseball is despite the fact that are at least nine players for each team that play in a game, more times than not the ending result comes down to one or two players. That was the case Saturday night when the Cubs played the Milwaukee Brewers. Last night, Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun combined for 5 hits, 4 of which were doubles, and 5 runs batted in. Then again even without Braun and Fielder the Brewers would have still tallied one run, which would have still been enough to beat the Cubs seeing as they were shutout.

Pitching:

With the exception of the runs given up, Matt Garza’s first two starts of the season have mirrored one another. Last Sunday, Garza surrendered 12 hits while striking out 12 batters in 7 innings of work. Last night against the Brewers, Garza’s hits allowed and strikeouts were once again equal. In 5 2/3 innings of work, Garza allowed 5 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 8 batters. Garza was the pitcher of record for the Cubs, and moved his record to 0-1 for the season. The early returns for Garza have been mixed. While you do not want to over-react only two weeks into the season, it still is alarming that he has given up 20 hits in his first two starts. Hopefully it is just a case of early-season jitters and Garza can become the front-end pitcher that he is capable of being.

Jeff Samardzija pitched last night, and still gave us all the perception that he should have been a football player and not a baseball player. In 1 inning of work, Samardzija gave up 1 run on 4 walks. Of his 31 pitches, only 13 were called a strike. The typical approach for any young pitcher–especially Jeff Samardzija–is patience. But since he was drafted in 2006, there has been no glimpse of promise for what his major league career might entail. Obviously it is too early for the Cubs to give up on Samardzija, but if his struggles continue they may be left with no other choice.

Offense:

The offense was essentially non-existent last night against the Brewers pitching staff. If you were to pick out a standout, it would either be Marlon Byrd or Geovany Soto. Byrd went 1 for 4 but had the only extra base hit of the game for the Cubs with a double. Soto was 1 for 2 with two walks.

Like we have said plenty of times in the off-season, there will be games where the Cubs offense fails to show up. This was one of those games as the Cubs were a combined 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position and left 7 runners on base. It is very hard for any team to win a game when their offense fails to cash in on scoring opportunities. This has been one of the biggest problems for the Cubs for the past two seasons, and appears to be a growing problem once again for this season.

Final Score: Brewers 6, Cubs 0