Lou Hopes Cubs Aren't Becoming 'Small Ball'

The Cubs have scored a total of nine runs over their past five games, going 1-4 in that stretch.

After his team beat the Twins 3-2 Sunday with small ball and daring baserunning, manager Lou Piniella was asked if that now has become his team's identity.

"I hope that's not the case," Piniella said.

In other words, Piniella knows his team will have to start hitting if it's going to be successful. As it is, the Cubs are just one game down in the loss column to Milwaukee in the NL Central.

The Cubs are 26-6 when they score four or more runs, but they're 4-24 when scoring fewer than four. One thing holding things together for the Cubs is their starting pitching.

Ted Lilly turned in his team-high 10th quality start Sunday. The Cubs are 22-16 in quality-start games, with their starters having a 2.17 ERA when turning in quality starts.


--RHP Angel Guzman did not appear in the three-game series against the Twins over the weekend. Piniella said at the beginning of the series that a couple of his relievers were "tender," but he declined to be specific. Guzman threw on the outfield grass under the supervision of the trainer on Friday. He has been one of the more dependable relievers of late.

--IF Ryan Freel began a minor-league rehab stint at Class AAA Iowa (Des Moines) on Monday. Freel has been on the disabled list since May 28 with a left hamstring strain. When he comes back, the Cubs will have to make a roster move. They've been pleased with the range and fielding of IF Andres Blanco since his May 27 call-up from Iowa.

--OF Kosuke Fukudome is hitless in 18 at-bats over his last five games. Fukudome's batting average has fallen from .309 at the beginning of June to .266. Fukudome also has lapsed back into his spinning "corkscrew" swing, which looks bad when he misses the ball.

"If I hit the ball, I'm probably not spinning myself," he said. "So it is definitely not good."

--SS Ryan Theriot drove in the winning run with a single Sunday. The right-handed hitting Theriot went to right field to drive in two runs. In much of the early going, he has tried to pull the ball to left field. Theriot has been prone to extended slumps and he has walked only 18 times while striking out 39 times. Last season, he had 73 walks and 58 strikeouts.

--RHP Kevin Gregg, the Cubs' closer, is un-scored on over his last five outings and in 16 of his last 18. Included was a two-inning stint last Thursday at Houston.



At Oklahoma City, the Cubs (33-32) collected eight hits in the series opener Monday. LF John-Ford Griffin (3-for-4) led Iowa with three hits, including his sixth double and the teams only RBI. Freel made a rehab start at third base and was 1-for-3 with a single. RHP Jeff Samardzija (3-3) started and suffered the loss, allowing four runs and eight hits in six innings. He struck out four batters and walked one.


At Daytona Beach, the Cubs (30-29) collected 10 hits in the series opener Monday. 3B Jake Opitz (2-for-4) collected two doubles and drove in two runs, while CF Tony Campana (2-for-4) and C Robinson Chirinos (2-for-4, double) added two hits. 1B Jovan Rosa (1-for-3) hit his team-leading 16th double and has a hit in five of his last six games. Daytona used four pitchers with LHP Dustin Sasser (4-0) getting the win in relief with two scoreless innings. He lowered his ERA to 1.35 for the season and has not allowed an earned run since May 8, a string of 17 consecutive innings.


At Peoria, the Chiefs out-hit the River Bandits, 10-3, in the victory Monday. SS Junior Lake (2-for-3, RBI) hit his third home run, and 1B Rebel Ridling (2-for-4) added two hits. 3B Josh Vitters (1-for-4, RBI) hit his 12th double and 2B Ryan Flaherty (1-for-3, three RBI) hit his 10th double. RHP Chris Carpenter (3-3) started and tossed seven complete shutout innings, allowing just three hits. He struck out one batter and did not allow a walk.


The Chiefs (33-30) out-hit the River Bandits, 9-6, to complete the doubleheader sweep. Ridling (2-for-4) drove in two runs to extend his team lead in RBI to 45. Ridling is batting .362 (21-for-58) in June and .277 in 63 games overall. Lake (2-for-4, double) and C Mario Mercedes (2-for-4) also added two hits. RHP Alberto Cabrera started and received a no-decision, allowing four runs and four hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out five batters and walked two. RHP Manolin DeLeon (2-0) got the win in relief with 2 1/3 scoreless innings. He has a 2.30 ERA and .145 average against in 15 2/3 innings.

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