As the Cubs' season turns ugly, their only hope of bridging the gap until the return of their three starting pitchers is to get some decent pitching between now and then. And not only are they not getting good pitching to offset the sorry state of their offense, they're getting downright lousy pitching.
Friday, Angel Guzman walked five, hit one, threw a wild pitch and gave up two runs in three innings. He was relieved by left-hander Glendon Rusch, who surrendered six runs, five earned, in just 1 2/3 innings and was booed off the field by the Wrigley Field patrons.
The Cubs knew they were in trouble when they lost first baseman Derrek Lee to a broken wrist, but they're in danger of falling out of the NL Central race before Memorial Day.
Their only hope is for Wood and Prior to return and pitch like their old selves, and Friday night Wood did just that in an injury-rehab start for Triple-A Iowa. He allowed one run on five hits in five innings and could return to the Cubs' rotation within the next week.
REPLAY: As the Cubs' losses keep mounting, they seem to keep getting uglier, too. Fresh off a 1-8 road trip, they lost to the San Diego Padres 10-5 Friday in their first game back home.
The Cubs' frustration came to a head in the fifth inning when catcher Michael Barrett exchanged words with San Diego left fielder Dave Roberts after the latter crossed home plate with another run.
--RHP Angel Guzman has allowed 16 walks in 18 innings since being called up from Triple-A Iowa.
--SS Ronny Cedeno committed a cardinal sin when he tossed the ball out of play after thinking he had called timeout. His request for timeout hadn't been granted, and the runners advanced in the midst of the Padres' five-run fifth inning.
--LHP Glendon Rusch's ERA is up to 7.89 after he gave up five earned runs in 1 2/3 innings.
--OF Felix Pie could be in line to be called up from Triple-A Iowa if RF Jacque Jones needs to go on the DL. Pie hit two home runs Thursday, including a walk-off.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- Games the Cubs won on their nine-game West Coast road trip.
.230 -- Team batting average on the trip.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's pretty tough for me. I have to find that release point and be consistent with it." -- RHP Angel Guzman after his loss Friday.
RHP Kerry Wood (shoulder and knee surgery) has been on the disabled list since spring training. RHP Wade Miller (shoulder surgery) has been on the disabled list since spring training. He should be back in June.
RHP Mark Prior (strained shoulder) has been on the disabled list since spring training. He is throwing on the mound again, and he hopes to be back with the Cubs by the end of May.
OF Angel Pagan (hamstring, knee) went on the disabled list April 16. He should be back in late May.
1B Derrek Lee (broken right wrist) went on the disabled list April 20. He will be out at least through May.