Manager Lou Piniella has tried everything. On Sunday, he held a team meeting.
Cubs' skid continues
What manager Lou Piniella didn't want was for his players to overthink or overanalyze things. In fact, he said he was thinking about shutting down the video room during games because players were looking at their poor at-bats.
"I want to see a good picture when I use visualization," Piniella said.
The first step, according to the manager, is to get the batting averages up. Piniella lamented that many of the Cubs' on-base percentages should be their batting averages. He'd like for the some of the players who are at or below .200 to get their batting averages up to .250 or .260 for starters and their OBPs into the mid-.300s and go from there.
PIRATES 10, CUBS 8: The Cubs scored more runs in one game than they did on their entire six-game road trip, but RHP Ryan Dempster and the bullpen couldn't contain the Pirates. Dempster pitched four innings, giving up seven hits and six runs. LHP Neal Cotts took the loss, allowing four runs and three hits in one inning. The Cubs have lost eight in a row.
NEWS AND NOTES
--RF Milton Bradley hit his fifth homer of the year and drove in four Monday. Bradley was quoted in one published report as saying his ejection last month by umpire Larry Vanover has had a carry-over effect on other umpires, whom he believes are not giving him calls. Piniella said Bradley needs to hit and that "getting on umpires is not a good solution."
--RHP David Patton pitched two scoreless innings of relief. It was Patton's first appearance since May 9. Patton is a Rule 5 draft pick the Cubs are trying to keep, but Piniella has used him sparingly.
--1B Derrek Lee was a lineup scratch for a second straight day because he was suffering from flu-like symptoms. Lee was the only Cub who hit on the 0-6 road trip -- he went 6-for-19 with a homer. He had a seven-game hitting streak entering Monday, but he was sick enough that the Cubs sent him home.
--RHP Carlos Marmol, the Cubs' top setup man, will not be with the club until Wednesday. He left to be with his wife, who is expecting the couple's second child.
--CF Reed Johnson, who hit his first homer of the year Sunday in San Diego, was in Monday night's lineup as the cleanup hitter with Lee scratched. Johnson was 1-for-4 with a run scored.
--INF Bobby Scales was a scratch because of flu-like symptoms similar to those of Lee. Scales flied out as a pinch hitter. Piniella had hoped to give slumping SS Ryan Theriot a night off and play Aaron Miles at short. But with Scales ill, Miles moved to second base, Ryan Freel played third and Theriot was back in at short. Theriot responded with doubles in each of his first three at-bats. His last nine hits at Wrigley Field have gone for extra bases, dating back to May 4.
ON THE FARM
SACRAMENTO 5, IOWA 3 (CLASS AAA)
At Des Moines, former Cub Sean Gallagher out-dueled RHP Jeff Samardzija (1-1), allowing one earned run and four hits in seven innings for the win Monday. Samardzija allowed four runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings while suffering his first loss since June 24 of last season. He struck out five batters and walked two. 1B Jake Fox (1-for-3) singled to extend his hit streak to 17 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the Pacific Coast League. He reached base three times for Iowa (22-21).
BIRMINGHAM 8, TENNESSEE 2 (CLASS AA)
At Sevierville, the Smokies (20-22) were out-hit, 16-7, in the loss Monday. SS Darwin Barney and DH Blake Lalli (each 2-for-4) led the offense with two hits. Barney has been on base in 16 of his last 17 games and is batting .338 through 40 games. LHP Casey Lambert (3-3) started and suffered the loss, allowing three runs and nine hits in five innings.
At Peoria, the Chiefs' (23-19) scheduled game against South Bend was postponed due to rain. The game will not be rescheduled.
Class High A Daytona (19-19) was idle Monday. The Cubs are scheduled to open a four-game series Tuesday at Palm Beach.
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