Inside Pitch: Cubs

The Sports Xchange provides detailed notes, quotes and more on the Chicago Cubs.

There was no major lineup change Monday night, and manager Dale Sveum cautioned reporters that there necessarily wasn't going to be one.

After the Cubs' 6-0 loss to the White Sox on Sunday, Sveum said he was thinking about making changes at the top of the order to get a sleepy offense going.

But in Chicago's 8-4 loss to the Houston Astros on Monday at Minute Maid Park, David DeJesus was batting first, as usual, and Starlin Castro was third, also as usual.

Although Sveum said a shakeup wasn't definite, he added he did think long and hard about it on the way from Illinois to Texas.

"It was very close, I will admit," he said Monday. "I thought about it (Sunday) night and today and I decided being that on the road trip we face three lefties and today was a good day to get every left-hander in the lineup off Bud Norris, who notoriously dominated right-handed hitters. I just decided to give the right-handed lineup one more week."

There are no easy solutions for a team that lacks power. DeJesus' on-base percentage entering Monday was an acceptable .360. Although Castro had most of his success last year batting first, he has only four walks this season. Speedy center fielder Tony Campana gives the Cubs a nice option hitting second, where he remained Monday.

"DeJesus has done everything at the leadoff spot, and Campana has done everything," Sveum said. "The bottom line is that we're still not scoring runs off the starting pitchers. It's been going on all year. It's kind of weird. We're better against the back end of a bullpen than we have been against starting pitchers, so it's just more of dwelling over that fact that what possibility can we do to change up. But it's not because anybody isn't doing their job."

NOTES, QUOTES

--LHP Travis Wood officially will be recalled from Class AAA Iowa to start Tuesday's game at Houston. The Cubs will have to make a roster move then. They have a pair of long men in the bullpen, RHPs Randy Wells and Casey Coleman. It's possible Coleman could get returned to Iowa, or the Cubs could put RHP Blake Parker (hamstring) on the disabled list. Against the Astros, Wood is 1-1 with a 2.43 ERA in five career starts, all while he was with the Reds. He made an emergency start for the Cubs on May 6, pitching six decent innings and getting no decision against the Dodgers. "Hopefully, I'm able to stick around for a while this time," he said.

--C Welington Castillo still is a few days from returning from a mild sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee. Castillo suffered the injury last Friday, catching the final pitch of RHP Kerry Wood's career. The rookie backstop has been wearing a brace. The Cubs have used three rookie catchers this year: Castillo, Steve Clevenger and Blake Lalli. It's the first time they've done that since 1974.

--C Steve Clevenger (oblique) headed out Monday for a rehab assignment with Class AAA Iowa. He could be back with the Cubs by Memorial Day.

--RHP Matt Garza endured his worst outing of the season, giving up two homers and getting shelled for five hits and seven runs in three innings. He fell to 2-2 with a 3.72 ERA. "I was trying too hard, trying to stop the (junk) that's going on," Garza said of the Cubs' losing streak, which has reached seven. "If you try too hard, you're not go to stop it, you're just going to continue it. That's exactly what happened."

--RHP Randy Wells saved the bullpen from possible disaster by pitching the final five innings and giving up three hits and one run. He could be in danger of getting shipped to Class AAA Iowa on Tuesday when the Cubs have to clear a roster spot for LHP Travis Wood, who will start at Houston.

--1B Bryan LaHair was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. He had just come off a terrible 1-for-16 homestand, and with the Cubs getting set to face two left-handed pitchers in Houston, manager Dale Sveum may sit the left-handed hitting LaHair on Tuesday against J.A. Happ. "He hasn't played this many days in a row in the big leagues, and we'll give him a little mental day off and come out for early work and see if that will help," manager Dale Sveum said. It's possible Jeff Baker will start for LaHair.

--C/INF Blake Lalli pinch-hit and then stayed in the game at first base. In his second at-bat, he hit a two-run single to right-center for his first major league hit. Until being called up last week, Lalli, 29, was seen by most as an "organizational player." The Cubs signed him as a non-drafted free agent in 2006.

BY THE NUMBERS: 31 -- Runs the Cubs have scored in the ninth innings of games this year, by far their biggest output by inning. Unfortunately for the team, many of those runs have come in blowout losses to make losing scores look a little better.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "That wasn't Matt Garza pitching. It was strange. So many off-speed pitches, breaking balls, not the Matt Garza I've seen. He got out of whack somehow, his game plan or the way he pitched." -- Manager Dale Sveum, on a rare rough outing by the right-hander.

MEDICAL WATCH:

--C Geovany Soto (arthroscopic left knee surgery) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 17. He underwent a procedure May 18 to repair a torn meniscus. He is expected to be out until mid-June.

--RHP Carlos Marmol (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list May 12. He will begin a rehab assignment for Class AAA Iowa on May 25.

--C Steve Clevenger (right oblique strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 26. He took 15 swings off the tee and 15 soft-toss swings May 16. He will begin a rehab assignment with Class AAA Iowa on May 22, and he could be activated in late May.

--RHP Marcos Mateo (ulnar neuritis in right arm) went on the 60-day disabled list April 4.


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