"I'm not talking about being down 0-2 in the playoffs, but a chance to be in the playoffs, or be anywhere," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said before his club lost 7-2 to the Dodgers.
The way things are going, the only place the Cubs are going is nowhere.
Their loss, coupled with the Cardinals' victory at San Diego, put the Cubs (61-58) seven games behind St. Louis in the NL Central, with both teams playing similar schedules the rest of the way.
The math is working heavily against the Cubs making the playoffs. They play only three more games against the Cardinals, all in St. Louis next month. The Cubs are fifth in the wild-card standings, six games out.
DODGERS 7, CUBS 2: RHP Angel Guzman gave up a grand slam to the Dodgers' Russell Martin in the sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie. LHP Tom Gorzelanny worked five innings, giving up five hits and two runs.
--RHP Carlos Zambrano pitched five scoreless innings in his minor league rehab start Thursday for Class A Peoria. Zambrano, who has been on the disabled list since early August with lower-back spasms, threw 76 pitches and said everything was "normal." He proclaimed himself ready to start Tuesday against Washington. Zambrano issued no walks for Peoria.
--CF Kosuke Fukudome hit his 11th homer of the season, topping last year's total by one. Fukudome entered the game 2-for-12 on the trip. He wound up 3-for-3 with a walk.
--2B Jeff Baker extended his hitting streak to a career-best 10 games. He's 18-for-40 during the streak.
--RHP Kevin Gregg made his first appearance since blowing a save Monday, when he lost his closer's job. Gregg worked a mop-up eighth inning against the Dodgers, going 1-2-3. Gregg could work his way back into closing, especially if Guzman continues to falter, as he has done this week.
--C Koyie Hill got his second straight start behind the plate over reigning Rookie of the Year Geovany Soto, who seems to have fallen out of favor with Piniella. The Cubs entered Thursday with a 30-19 record with Hill starting behind the plate. Hill has won high marks from the Cubs for his game calling and handling of pitchers.
Cubs' Return to L.A. Not Much Better
Northsiders Report Top Stories
Cubs Jan. 23 NotebookNathan Sweeney was the only prep pitcher to sign with the Cubs during the 2016 draft. RH Miguel Mejia extends scoreless streak in Puerto Rico.
Northsiders Report8:21 AM
Cubs Jan. 22 NotebookThe Division II Defensive Player of the Year showed off his bat in Eugene after the draft. Chesny Young helps Aguilas to win in DWL.
Northsiders ReportYesterday at 11:48 AM
Cubs Jan. 21 NotebookCubs sign relief pitcher Jim Henderson to a minor league deal. Draft order set and winter league playoffs.
Northsiders ReportSaturday at 10:11 AM
Cubs Jan. 20 NotebookThe Cubs grabbed a NAIA reliever in the 15th round and Jed Carter won a ring in his first pro season. Bobblehead days and a pair of Game 7s in Mexico.
Northsiders ReportFriday at 6:06 PM
Cubs Jan. 19 NotebookA look at ninth round pick Duncan Robinson. Finals set in Venezuela and Dominican Republic.
Northsiders ReportThursday at 4:12 PM