Soriano's struggles continue (PHOTO/CHICAGO CUBS)
With Mark DeRosa declared OK to play -- at second base, not in right field -- manager Lou Piniella says he'd like to stay constant with his lineup in the Division Series.
DeRosa started Game 1 at second base with Kosuke Fukudome in right. Against Dodgers right-hander Derek Lowe, Piniella batted the left-handed hitting Fukudome second and shortstop Ryan Theriot eighth. Theriot batted second much of the regular season.
DeRosa strained his left calf on Sept. 24 running out a double in New York. This was his first action in a week, but he did test the calf Monday and Tuesday.
With the Dodgers throwing all right-handed starting pitchers at the Cubs, Piniella is looking for some production from his left-handed hitters, especially Fukudome, who endured a miserable second half of the regular season.
With Wednesday's Game 1 loss to the Dodgers, Piniella might not be able to trot out the same lineup for Game 2. He could bench Fukudome, move DeRosa to right field and play left-handed hitting Mike Fontenot at second base.
"We'll see," Piniella said after the game. "We'll see tomorrow. I'm not sure."
DODGERS 7, CUBS 2: RHP Ryan Dempster walked seven and lasted just 4 2/3 innings. Dempster walked only seven the entire month of September, and the walks caught up with him when James Loney hit a fifth-inning grand slam. The Cubs had talked about throwing first-pitch strikes, but Dempster fell behind all night. At the plate, the Cubs looked much like they did in last year's NLDS. They flailed away at sliders from Dodgers starter Derek Lowe and went quietly after Mark DeRosa's two-run homer put them up 2-0 in the second.
--CF Felix Pie made the NLDS roster ahead of 1B-OF Micah Hoffpauir. Both players hit left-handed, but Pie can play center field and has more speed. Pie spent much of the year at Class AAA Iowa (Des Moines) after winning the Opening Day center field job.
"We talked about it long and hard," Piniella said. "It came down to the versatility of Pie. I wasn't going to use Hoffpauir in postseason in the outfield."
--RHP Chad Gaudin did not make the postseason roster and was not among several players sent to the club's spring facility in Arizona to work out in case they're needed in later rounds, should the Cubs advance. Gaudin injured his back in late August and did not pitch well after being out for three weeks.
--DeRosa hit his first postseason home run, connecting in the second inning. DeRosa went 2-for-4. He and Theriot were the only Cubs with two hits.
--LF Alfonso Soriano went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts, reviving memories of last year's NLDS, in which he went 2-for-14 against the Diamondbacks.
"Nothing to say because last October was last October," Soriano said. "This is 2008."
--RHP Jason Marquis saw his first postseason action since 2005 when he pitched the ninth inning. Marquis was left off the Cardinals' postseason roster in 2006. He was on the roster for the Cubs last year but did not appear in the NLDS. Marquis was the team's fifth starter all year, but he'll see long-relief and mop-up duty for as long as the Cubs are in the playoffs.
--RHPs Michael Wuertz and Kevin Hart, C Koyie Hill and Hoffpauir headed to Mesa, Ariz., to stay sharp in case the Cubs need any of them should the team advance to the NL Championship Series. Hoffpauir would seem to have the best chance to be added to the roster if the Cubs advance.
BY THE NUMBERS: 7 -- Dempster walked seven, tying the Cubs' postseason record for walks by a starter. It was last done by Tex Carleton in 1935.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Well, it's Game 1 only. Let's hope we get better with it. We need to swing the bats, no question." -- Manager Lou Piniella on the Cubs' lack of offense in the Division Series opener.