Starter Chris Volstad was knocked around for six runs (five earned) and seven hits in five innings Friday as the Cubs fell 9-4 to the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field.
Things aren't much better on the injury front.
Right-handed setup man Kerry Wood went on the disabled list with what the Cubs termed "right shoulder fatigue." Earlier in the week, Wood traveled back from Miami to Chicago to have a cortisone shot in the shoulder. The club backdated the move to April 14, and they termed it precautionary.
"We just felt that, just to be safe, we got him completely ready to go instead of waiting a couple of days to see how things were going when he tossed or threw off the mound," Sveum said. "We had to shore up the bullpen a little bit to make sure."
On top of all that, No. 1 starter Ryan Dempster had an MRI on Friday on his right quadriceps, and he might not be able to make Sunday's scheduled start.
Dempster pitched Tuesday at Miami and seemed fine. If he cannot go Sunday, the Cubs already have summoned right-hander Randy Wells from Class AAA (Des Moines) Iowa as an emergency starter. Dempster has been the Cubs' most effective starter despite some bad luck. He's 0-1 with a 1.33 ERA.
Sveum said the Cubs likely would make a decision on Dempster by late Saturday afternoon, following their noon game against the Reds.
--RHP Chris Volstad threw 40 of his 90 pitches in the first inning in falling to 0-2 with a 6.19 ERA. He struck out the first batter he faced, but the Reds wound up scoring four runs in the first inning. The Cubs also committed two errors in the first, and Volstad walked a pair. "I just need to make better pitches when things start going like that," he said. "I don't know what it is. I just got to focus a little more, I think."
--LHP Scott Maine was disappointed at not making the club out of spring training, but he was called up to replace the injured Kerry Wood. At Class AAA (Des Moines) Iowa, Maine was 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA and one save. The 27-year-old was up at times with the Cubs last year and in 2010. "I'm not going to say I wasn't disappointed," he said of being sent out in spring training. "I understand where they were coming from because I did walk a few people there. I went down and threw well, and the opportunity opened up here. So hopefully, I can capitalize."
--1B Bryan LaHair extended a hitting streak to a career-best nine games by going 2-for-4 with a run-scoring single and a double. LaHair is 12-for-31 (.387) in the streak. He says the Cubs are not getting down about a six-game losing streak.
"We're the kind of team that's going to continue to play hard and continue to fight and move on to the next game," he said. "As long as we stay focused on each day, hopefully things turn around."
--CF Marlon Byrd was 0-for-3 as his batting average fell to .070 (3-for-43). He's played an outstanding center field, having made several diving catches. However, the Cubs need all the offense they can get. "He's played a great center field all season long, he really has," said manager Dale Sveum. "Today, he hit three balls hard. It looks like he's swinging the bat better. I'm seeing more aggressive swings. He's going to keep going out there. He's still been an asset to us in center field."
--SS Starlin Castro has reached base in 53 of his last 54 games, dating to Aug. 15, 2011. He extended a hit streak to eight games, during which he's gone 13-for-31 (.419). He also committed his fifth error of the season when he missed a throw at second base. It was one of three Cubs errors on the day.
BY THE NUMBERS: 14 -- RHP Chris Volstad is winless in his last 14 starts. He has seven losses and seven no-decisions in that time. His last victory came July 10, 2011 as a member of the Marlins.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's a little frustrating. Guys aren't getting down as far as that. Everybody every day is coming in with a positive attitude to start the day off. We're not a team that's ever going to do that or get down on ourselves or quit or back down from anybody." -- RHP Chris Volstad.
--RHP Ryan Dempster (right quadriceps) had an MRI on April 20 and is iffy for his April 22 start.
--RHP Kerry Wood (right shoulder) had a cortisone shot April 18, but he still went on the disabled list April 20, retroactive to April 14.
--RHP Marcos Mateo (ulnar neuritis in right arm) went on the 60-day disabled list April 4.