Cubs rookie starter Raley takes his lumps

New Cubs pitcher Brooks Raley started his major league career with a strikeout, but it went downhill not long after that.

The left=hander, who was called on to fill Matt Garza’s spot in the rotation, had some tough luck but was also his own worst enemy at times, while giving up seven runs over four innings.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum implores his young pitchers to stay in the strike zone, but Raley walked three and looked to box himself in during a four-run third inning by the Padres. The knockout punch came an inning later when Carlos Quentin hit a three run home run.

Two of those three walks given up by Raley came in the third inning. He loaded the bases for the first time in the inning in hard-luck fashion on a broken-bat single by Padres pitcher Ross Ohlendorf, a walk and a misplayed sacrifice bunt by third baseman Luis Valbuena.

Having to challenge Chase Headley on a 3-1 pitch, Raley gave up a two-run single to center field. He loaded the bases again on a walk to Quentin. Nearly out of the jam after getting two outs, Everth Cabrera then added his own two-run single.

In the fourth inning, two singles preceded Quentin’s three-run shot into the left-field seats.

As the Cubs go deeper into the depth chart after recent trades and injuries, their struggles only figure to increase. Not only have the Cubs lost every game since the day the non-waiver trade deadline arrived, they have had issues in multiple areas.

The pitching has had its problems, which wasn’t hard to predict with Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm getting traded, not to mention Garza’s injury, but the offense has gotten worse when it was needed to help pick up the slack.

Over their seven-game losing streak the Cubs have been outscored 38-16.

Now comes the wait to see what the Cubs do with Garza’s spot in the rotation the next time it comes around Sunday at home against the Cincinnati Reds. But with guys like Chris Volstad and Justin Germano already in the rotation, their options are limited.

Sveum did suggest to reporters in San Diego before the game that he doesn’t plan on Raley getting just one chance in the rotation saying he plans on keeping the left-hander for the final seven weeks of the season.