While all of the buzz this weekend was focused on Kris Bryant's major league debut, the Chicago Cubs managed to drop two of three games to the San Diego Padres and lose their first series of the year. They'll quickly have a chance to bounce back against the Pirates though, with the next series kicking off tonight. Below are five thoughts from the Padres series.
1. Forget the expectations; Bryant was awesome. The Cubs offered James Shields a lot of money this offseason because he's good. Therefore, it should be no surprise that he easily handled Bryant in his major league debut. Still, despite going 0-for-4 with three strike outs, Bryant bounced back to finish the weekend with a .300 average (3-for-10) and a .500 on-base percentage. He'll be fine. The home runs will come.
2. The bullpen isn't perfect after all. After having a great start to the season as a whole, Cubs relievers combined to allow seven runs in 11.1 innings this weekend. The offense bailed out the bullpen for the extra innings win on Saturday, but I'm thinking the bullpen will right back to supporting the offense late in games very soon.
3. I like Starlin Castro hitting 5th. Let's be honest: Bryant will get better pitches to hit with Castro hitting behind him. Coghlan is a good player, but he won't exactly scare anyone into changing their approach against the hitter before him. Coghlan struggled this weekend and had just one hit, but more importantly, we need Castro to get to the plate more often.
4. Miguel Montero needs to start getting consistent playing time. Each of the team's three catchers got a start this weekend, but only Montero had an impact offensively. Of course, his two home runs on Saturday helped the team earn its only win in the series. He was brought to Chicago for a reason and is being paid like a top catcher in the game. I'd like to see him start getting the majority of the work, with Ross possibly catching Lester, and Castillo being used late off of the bench as needed.
5. Jon Lester looks better, and his "spring training" should be over now. He had a couple of bad pitches on Sunday, but if the Cubs had put together some offense, he could've easily earned a win in the game. We know he's been behind since early in the spring, but his adjustment period should be finished now. Let's hope we'll now see the Lester who deserved that huge contract.