Updated: May 31, 2014 1:44AM
MILWAUKEE – Not even Kris Bryant was going to help the Cubs on this night – no matter what Cubs studio analyst Todd Hollandsworth says.
No combination of Cubs prospects – even under the wing of player/coach/mentor Manny Ramirez -- were going to make a difference in an 11-5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in a Friday night opener of a three-game series at Miller Park.
In fact, nights like these offer quick reminder of how far away the Cubs are from competing. And why they’re in no rush to promote AAA slugger Javy Baez or the best hitter in Class AA this year: Bryant.
Hollandsworth, the 1996 National League rookie of the year and former Cub, said during a broadcast this week that Bryant had proven what he needed at AA Tennessee and suggested he would be well served to start getting acclimated to the big leagues.
“The sooner you get these guys going, that’s when the process really starts,” Hollandsworth said – before Bryant hit his 17th homer and drove in a 46th run Friday in just 53 games.
Bryant (.347) leads the Southern League in all the Triple Crown categories.
“With all due respect to everyone who is looking at these young men and their numbers, [Bryant’s] doing very, very well, and we’re happy he’s doing very, very well,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “And I’ll say this: Even when you get to the big leagues you always have some room to learn. [Saying] he wouldn’t have anything else to learn in AA, I guess that can be debated.”
Bryant was drafted No. 2 overall in last year’s draft out of San Diego University. He has 89 games of pro experience since then.
“We’re glad he’s doing well. As an organization, everybody is comfortable where he’s at,” Renteria said. “The organization will make a decision as to how he’ll progress.”
Meanwhile, don’t expect a lot of progress at the big-league level, where the Cubs have the worst record in the majors and several of this year’s best performers could be traded within two months.
On Friday, last year’s Cubs All-Star, Travis Wood, suffered one of the worst starts of his career – allowing seven runs on 10 hits and a walk in just 2 2/3 innings.
Two batters into the game, Ryan Braun homered off Wood and the Brewers never looked back.
The Cubs scored twice in the third – snapping a 22-inning scoreless streak – with Wood delivering an infield single during the rally and eventually scoring.
Cubs right-fielder Nate Schierholtz led off the sixth with his second home run in four games. He had none in his first 42 games this season after hitting a career-high 21 last year.
The Cubs added two more in the ninth when Junior Lake and Luis Valbuena drew back-to-back two-out walks, followed by consecutive run-scoring singles from Starlin Castro and pinch-hitter John Baker.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo sat out the game with a scheduled day off, the first game he’s missed this season. The only other Cub to play every game this year, Castro, is expected to get Sunday off ahead of the team’s scheduled off day Monday, Renteria said.