What was suppose to be a strength of this Cubs team turned into a weakness as the Cubs pitching got shellacked by the Braves today, losing 16-5. Carlos Zambrano lasted just 1.1 innings and gave up 8 runs. He gave up 2 homeruns, including young phenom Jason Heyward's first career homerun in his first career AB.
Jeff Samardzija gave up 6 runs (4 earned) in just 0.1 IP and Justin Berg gave up 2 runs in his 1 inning, perhaps sending a message to Jim Hendry that the Cubs need another righthander in the bullpen (preferably someone with some experience).
The bright spot for the Cubs pitching was the 2.2 perfect innings thrown by Sean Marshall, who struck out 5 batters. Perhaps he was still trying to make his case for the rotation (maybe he could take Zambrano's spot). In any case, there wasn't much to celebrate on the pitching side.
As for the hitters, Marlon Byrd got the Cubs going early, hitting a 3-run homerun in the first and Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run shot in the 3rd, but even against a shaky Derek Lowe (5 runs in 6 IP), the Cubs couldn't keep it close.
The same teams will square up again on Wednesday with Ryan Dempster going against Jair Jurrjens. Dempster pitched very well during spring training (2.13 ERA in 25.1 IP) and looks to carry that momentum into the season.