Cubs Record Against Winning Teams Not Good

The Cubs have lost five in a row and seven of eight after Thursday's 6-1 defeat to the Phillies.

Although they still have a winning record of 58-55, the Cubs are just 19-33 against teams that currently own winning records.

"It doesn't help our situation out," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.

If they're going to repeat as NL Central champs and do anything in the postseason, they know that has to change.

"I think that's an important thing to do," left-hander Ted Lilly, scheduled to come off the disabled list Monday, said of beating top competition. "I would like to do it. I think it sends a good message."

The Pirates, last in the NL Central, come to Wrigley Field on Friday, and Lilly cautioned against taking them for granted.

Next week's West Coast trip ends with four games in Los Angeles against the NL West-leading Dodgers. The Cubs have three games remaining with the Cardinals in St. Louis next month. Chicago now trails St. Louis by 4 1/2 games.

PHILLIES 6, CUBS 1: Ryan Dempster gave up a three-run homer to Ryan Howard in the fourth and a solo shot to Pedro Feliz later that inning. The Cubs offense managed only six hits, as Cliff Lee was hardly threatened.


--2B Jeff Baker extended his hitting streak to five games (11-for-19). He had two singles and two walks Thursday against the Phillies. Baker is beginning to wrest the lion's share of playing time at second away from Mike Fontenot, who has slumped lately.

--SS Ryan Theriot established a career high with his 46th RBI on Thursday. Theriot had 45 RBIs in 2007. He extended his hitting streak to seven games, during which he's gone 13-for-32 (.406).

--RHP Jeff Samardzija was optioned to Class AAA Iowa and RHP Justin Berg was recalled from Iowa. Berg, who was up with the Cubs earlier this season but did not pitch, made his big-league debut Thursday against the Phillies and pitched two scoreless innings. Samardzija made his first major league start Wednesday night and gave up eight hits and seven runs in 3 1/3 innings. He had been working out of the bullpen with the Cubs. Earlier this year, he was a starter at Iowa. He'll now go back into Iowa's rotation.

--Lilly pitched five scoreless innings Wednesday in a rehab start for Class A Peoria. Lilly is on the mend from left shoulder inflammation and arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He is scheduled to return Monday at San Diego.

"From a health standpoint, I feel really good," Lilly said upon returning to Wrigley Field.

--LHP Tom Gorzelanny threw from the bullpen mound and proclaimed himself fit to start Saturday against the Pirates. He suffered a bruised right foot Monday at Colorado.

"There's still a little bit of soreness in there, but not enough to get worried about," Gorzelanny said.

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