Cubs’ bats on ice during listless 4-0 loss to the Braves

Chicago Tribune Sports 6 months ago

Bad luck at Wrigley Field on Friday the 13th?

Yes, if you won the office ticket lottery and plucked this game. The first-pitch temperature was 42 degrees with winds out of the north at 17 miles an hour.

It might have been frigid enough to prompt fans to pull the trigger on those $10 hot chocolates. If only they came with a fleece.

The Cubs also produced little in the way of warm vibes. They fell to 6-7 by losing to the Braves, 4-0.

Yu Darvish (0-1) took the loss after a brutal fifth inning that featured a balk, wild pitches, two walks and five hits, including a scorched home run by Preston Tucker onto Sheffield Avenue.

Making his Wrigley Field debut in a Cubs uniform, Darvish threw just 61 strikes to 44 balls, appearing to lose his composure in his final frame. He has pitched well in only one of his three starts.

The Cubs managed just four hits – two by Ian Happ, who replaced an illness-inflicted Albert Almora Jr. in the lineup.

Kris Bryant started at first for Anthony Rizzo and went 1-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch.

Bryant had some tough chances at first. Darvish misfired on a pickoff attempt. Catcher Willson Contreras whizzed a throw past him on an Anibal Sanchez bunt that resulted in an out for interference. And after Addison Russell made a sliding stop on a Nick Markakis grounder, Russell’s throw bounced on the edge of the grass/dirt and hopped past Bryant’s glove.

Bryant took groundballs at first before the game and said of the most challenging plays: “It's just getting to the bag on time. With certain right-handed hitters, you're going to play with a little more pull and as a third baseman, you want the first baseman to get there pretty quick, so you're not trying to hit a moving target.”

One bit of good news: Manager Joe Maddon said he expects Rizzo to play Monday when he comes off the 10-day disabled list for back soreness. The Cubs host the Cardinals for a three-game set.

tgreenstein@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @TeddyGreenstein

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