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updated: 4/4/2014 7:29 PM

Cubs attack woefully offensive

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  • The Cubs' Ryan Sweeney heads back to the dugout after striking out in the seventh inning Friday at Wrigley Field. The Cubs have a team batting average of .201 after four games.

      The Cubs' Ryan Sweeney heads back to the dugout after striking out in the seventh inning Friday at Wrigley Field. The Cubs have a team batting average of .201 after four games.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

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The final score line had the Phillies beating the Cubs 7-2 Friday at frosty Wrigley Field.

Truth be told, this one felt out of reach after the Phillies took a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning.

The visitors from Philadelphia ruined the home opener for the Cubs and most of the 38,283 in attendance on a brutally cold day, with a game-time temperature of 38 and wind chills in the 20s.

It was one of those odd days when the wind was blowing out despite the cold air, but this Cubs offense couldn't take advantage.

You're liable to hear that when heat advisories are in effect come July. Simply put, this Cubs attack is going to have trouble attacking no matter what the calendar reads.

On Friday, the Phillies outhit the Cubs 11-3. The Cubs are batting .201 as a team over the first four games of the season, with cornerstones Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo each being 2-for-17.

Cubs hitters managed to take a 2-0 lead against Phillies starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez by the third inning, but they couldn't come up with any more hits after that.

"All in all, we did not go in there and have a very good plan of attack in general, so it kind of cost us," said Cubs manager Rick Renteria, whose team is 1-3.

There's really not much Renteria can do. He goes with a different lineup every day, so he pretty much laughed off any notion of a shake-up.

"It's the fourth game of the season, and quite frankly, I wouldn't panic anyway," he said. "We're going to continue to work. We're going to continue to try to get better. We're going try to improve on the things we need to.

"These guys have to keep playing. I think it's really, really early to talk about lineup changes and things like that, quite frankly."

Castro batted second in the order for the second straight game after opening the season as the No. 3 hitter. Rizzo moved up to his customary third spot after batting cleanup in Pittsburgh to start the year. Against the Phillies, Castro was 1-for-4 with an RBI infield single. Rizzo was 0-for-4.

"I feel pretty good," said Castro, who missed almost all of spring-training games because of a hamstring injury. "I felt, like, not OK the first game. I'm just trying to be aggressive."

The fourth time in four games, the Cubs got a good pitching performance from one of their starters. Travis Wood took the loss, working 6⅓ innings and giving up 6 hits and 4 runs, 3 earned. A 2-run windblown homer by Chase Utley in the fifth put the Phillies up 3-2.

Relievers Wesley Wright (homer to John Mayberry in the eighth) and Brian Schlitter allowed the remaining runs.

"Pretty solid," Wood said of his performance. "I'd like to have a couple pitches back, the one to Utley and the one to (Ben) Revere that ended up chasing me from the ballgame (a single in the seventh). But other than that, I thought I kept them pretty off-balance and kept us in the game."

Until late Friday, the Cubs had been in every game, playing three 1-run contests in Pittsburgh. For now, Renteria will stay the course.

"The one thing I have to maintain and we will maintain is that we take an even-keeled approach," he said. "We're going to address those things that need to be addressed. And we're going to get ready to play another game tomorrow."

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