HOW IT HAPPENED: It was a rough day on the mound and at the plate for the Cubs as Matt Garza was knocked around in a pitchers’ park and the offensive sputters continued. Adding insult to injury is the fact that the Cubs lost the last two games to a former White Sox manager in Ozzie Guillen and a former White Sox pitcher in Mark Buehrle, who even drove in a run with a single.
WHAT IT MEANS: Without a whole lot of power to begin with, and then having to play in a roomy ballpark, stringing together base hits needed to be the Cubs' forte. It just isn’t happening as the offense has yielded very little the past four games ever since an offensive explosion spoiled the Cardinals’ home opener last week. The Cubs entered play batting a dismal .244 with nobody on base and a paltry .229 with runners on.
OUTSIDE THE BOX: That bunt contest the Cubs conducted this spring has yielded very little once Opening Day came. With chances to move over runners in the fifth inning, Garza bunted right back to the pitcher as the Marlins were then able to get the force out at third base. The Cubs have just one sacrifice bunt this season, from Jeff Samardzija, which is tied for last in the last in the National League.
OFF BEAT: Cubs manager Dale Sveum claimed he didn’t see the Marlins’ moving, flashing, spraying center field sculpture when the home team hit a home run Tuesday. So he got two more chances to see the $2.5 million monstrosity in action Wednesday when Donnie Murphy and Hanley Ramirez went deep. What is it? Think 30-foot tall pop-up book from a gift shop in Miami Beach and you only start to get the idea.
UP NEXT: Cubs right-hander Samardzija (2-0, 3.95 ERA) will close out the three-game series when he takes the mound Thursday. He will be opposed by Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco (1-0, 3.46) in the 11:40 a.m. CST start from Marlins Park.