New lineup, same result

You can understand if Chicago Cubs fans are calling for first-round pick Kris Bryant to get to Wrigley Field as soon as possible -- even though he’s not signed and hasn't seen a professional pitch yet.

With the Cubs garnering just five hits -- two against Pittsburgh Pirates starter Francisco Liriano -- in Friday’s 2-0 loss, Bryant is very much needed whenever he can make it to the big leagues.

“It’s very, very difficult if [Liriano's] on with his off-speed stuff,” manager Dale Sveum said. “He’s an effectively wild guy.”

Liriano walked five but the Cubs' revamped lineup couldn’t muster a hit with a runner in scoring position.

“He doesn’t give in,” leadoff man Darwin Barney said. “You’re going to see just a few fastballs. Those five walks were just him not giving in. They weren’t necessarily where he was wild.”

With Barney leading off on Friday and Starlin Castro down in the seven-hole again, the Cubs lineup looks nothing like it did on opening day. Third baseman Cody Ransom, batting second now, gave way to Luis Valbuena later in the game. That should be Bryant’s spot someday. He hit 31 home runs to lead all college players this year and his .483 on-base percentage was tops on his team.

But for now, the Cubs will have to make do. The Pirates staff is one of the best in the league and Liriano is emerging as one of the best of the best.

“When he’s right and has his velocity he’s in the CC Sabathia-type category,” Sveum said.