ATLANTA -- Coming out of spring training, the worry was that new Chicago Cubs pitcher Scott Feldman was going to get hit hard. After all, he gave up a whopping 38 hits in 20 innings in Cactus League play, which mirrored issues he had last season in amassing a 5.09 ERA with the Texas Rangers.
But on Friday, against the Atlanta Braves, it wasn't the hits that did him in, it was his control.
"I had a little trouble with my command and they got into some deep counts and they made me throw a lot of pitches," Feldman said after the 4-1 loss.
How about 102 pitches without getting out of the fifth inning? He was all over the place, bouncing pitches into catcher Welington Castillo throughout the game, including two wild pitches. Add a hit batter and four walks and you realize why manager Dale Sveum called a lot of his throws "non-competitive pitches."
"He had no command of his curveball," Sveum said.
Said Feldman: "[Bouncing pitches] told me I was a little too far down, my command was a tick off."
And so with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth, in a 2-1 game, Sveum let him pitch to Juan Francisco.
"At that time it was his game to win or lose at that point," Sveum said. "Keep it at 2-1 or give it up."
He gave it up, in the form of a single. That scored two runs and the Braves never looked back.
"Not too many games [last year] where I'm walking 3-4 guys like that," Feldman said.
With Matt Garza's return to the Cubs' rotation scheduled for early May, Feldman better not have many more outings like Friday's because someone has to come out of the rotation -- and the Cubs' first three starters were spot so far.
"I have to work hard between starts and see the light at the end of the tunnel," Feldman said. "The game tonight, try to flush that one and get back to work."
-- Catcher Dioner Navarro tried to steal second in the eighth inning with two outs and his team down 4-1. It was a curious move as Navarro said he thought he could "catch them sleeping" and went on his own.