Inside Pitch: Cubs

The Sports Xchange offers detailed notes and quotes on the Chicago Cubs.

After having spent much of the last week tinkering with his bullpen, manager Dale Sveum is trying different ways to squeeze some runs from an offense that has had trouble scoring all year.

One of the players he's used a lot of late is Joe Mather. The 29-year-old journeyman was 0-for-5 in Wednesday's 8-6 victory over the San Diego Padres, but Sveum likes what he brings.

"He's the one guy that's for the most part though spring training and so far through the season (done well) with slugging percentage, on-base percentage and having consistent quality at-bats," Sveum said. "He's played good defense. When he's in center field, he's always gotten good jumps on balls and has done a good job. I'm going to ride it as long as I can."

In addition to center field, Mather has played third base. His playing time has come at the expense of Tony Campana, who has not started since May 21.

"It's not like he's not going to play or anything," Sveum said of Campana. "It's one of those things where he didn't do anything to lose his job. He was kind of more of a victim of doing a good job, but still, the offense wasn't scoring runs. So we just thought we'd put somebody in there that might juice the team with a home run or a three-run homer or a two-run double or something like that. Unfortunately for Camp, like I told him, in a complete powerhouse offense, he could play every day in center field." Campana pinch ran Wednesday and scored the tying run after stealing two bases.

NOTES, QUOTES

--2B Darwin Barney hit the first career walk-off homer of his career to give the Cubs an 8-6 victory and a series sweep of the Padres on Wednesday. "That was the first walk-off home run I've ever had at any level," Barney said of his drive to left-center. "I didn't even see it go out. I was just running, running hard. It's crazy." Barney has a four-game hitting streak (6-for-13). He doubled twice in Tuesday's game.

--RHP Ryan Dempster got another no-decision. He was off with his command and gave up six hits and six runs, including two home runs to Carlos Quentin and one to Chris Denorfia. Dempster's record held at 0-3 while his ERA rose from 2.14 to 2.90. "That's the way it goes sometimes," he said. "I just battled. I kept putting us behind the 8-ball, and they (the offense) kept battling back."

--LHP James Russell picked up the victory one day after earning his first career save. Russell's father, Jeff Russell had 186 big-league saves. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Russells are the fourth father and son who each saved at least one game in the majors. The others were Julio and Jaime Navarro, Pedro Borbon Sr. and Jr., and Steve and Jason Grilli.

--RHP Carlos Marmol made his first relief appearance since coming off the disabled list Monday. It was vintage Marmol as he walked two batters before getting a flyout and a strikeout to end the seventh inning. Marmol will continue working as a middle man, said manager Dale Sveum. It might be that Marmol does not regain his old job as closer.

--OF Tony Campana celebrated his 26th birthday in style, going in as a pinch runner in the eighth inning after Reed Johnson singled as a pinch hitter with two outs. Campana stole second base and third base before scoring the tying run on an infield single by SS Starlin Castro. It was a happy birthday indeed. "Yeah, good birthday," he said. "It was exciting. It's an exciting one." He also said he understands his lack of starting time lately. "I'm going to come in there and help the team as much as I can," he said. "That's kind of my job all the time. Whether I'm starting or coming off the bench, I'm going to try to spark some excitement in the game."

BY THE NUMBERS: 18 -- Starts by RHP Ryan Dempster without a victory. His last win came Aug. 11, 2011. According to STATS, Dempster is the first Cubs pitcher to go 18 straight starts without a win since Danny Jackson in 1991-92.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I didn't have my command I've been having all year. But at the same time, I made some pitches to Carlos Quentin ... I probably should have just drilled him or something. Really, like looking back at it, holy cow. Fastball right on the black, he hits a homer. Fastball three balls outside and he hits a homer." -- RHP Ryan Dempster on a rare rough outing

MEDICAL WATCH:

--C Welington Castillo (sprained medial collateral ligament in right knee) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 19.

--RHP Lendy Castillo (left groin strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 12.

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


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