Starting Pitching Hasn't Been the Problem

Ted Lilly (STAFF PHOTO/PAM DAVIS)

There's little wrong with the Cubs' starting pitching these days.

Lefty Ted Lilly turned in the club's 83rd quality start Monday in a 4-2 victory at Pittsburgh. In the Cubs' seven games this month, the starters have worked 44 2/3 innings, giving up five earned runs for an ERA of 1.01.

The only non-quality start in that time came from Rich Harden, who won Saturday at New York by working five innings and giving up two runs, one earned.

But because the offense has been spotty, the Cubs have wasted some quality outings. They're just 3-3 this month when the starters have turned in quality starts. In those three games, the offense scored a grand total of four runs. Overall this season, the Cubs are 52-31 when their starters have had a quality start.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Lilly on Monday became the first Cubs pitcher to 11 victories this season. He turned in his team-leading 19th quality start. For Lilly, it was his 43rd victory with the Cubs since he joined them in 2007. He entered the day tied for the NL lead in wins since '07 with St. Louis' Adam Wainwright and Philadelphia's Jamie Moyer.

--RHP Esmailin Caridad was recalled from Class AAA Iowa. This is Caridad's second stint with the Cubs this year. He made his major league debut in August and pitched in three games.

--RHP Randy Wells turned in his 16th quality start Sunday despite losing. He lowered his ERA from 2.90 to 2.84. Wells' 139 1/3 innings pitched are the most for a Cubs rookie pitcher since Kerry Wood worked 166 2/3 in 1998.

BY THE NUMBERS: 32 -- 1B Derrek Lee and 3B Aramis Ramirez have homered in the same game 32 times. That's fourth in Cubs history. The top three involve some combination of Ernie Banks, Ron Santo and Billy Williams.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I told my daughter before I left -- she always asks me to hit a home run -- so I told her I have to hit a home run for you and Dylan." -- Lee after a two-homer game, which came two days after the birth of his son, Dylan.

ROSTER REPORT

--Lee hit his 30th and 31st home runs. It was his fourth two-homer game this year. He also became the eighth Cub to have at least three 30-homer seasons while with the club. The other players are Sammy Sosa (11 seasons), Ernie Banks (7), Billy Williams (5), Ron Santo (4), Hank Sauer (4), Hack Wilson (4) and Ramirez (3).

--RHP Jeff Stevens was recalled from Class AAA Iowa. They're expected to recall RHP Jeff Samardzija from Iowa on Tuesday. This is Stevens' fourth stint with the Cubs this season. Samardzija may get a spot start before the season is over. He worked in the bullpen for the Cubs earlier this year but has been a starter for most of his minor league career.

--2B Jeff Baker extended his hitting streak to five games. He's gone 8-for-17 (.471) during the streak. Baker has hit safely in 20 of his last 24 games, going 32-for-84 (.381).

--RF Milton Bradley singled home a run. For Bradley, it was only his 39th RBI of the season, but eight have come since Aug. 25, when he's gone 19-for-53 (.358).

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