Despite slide, Baker won't call it slump

BaseballSportsMeteorological DisastersChicago CubsHurricanes and Tropical StormsChicago White SoxPaul Bako

Dusty Baker knew exactly what was at stake before Sunday's final game of the city series.

"We've got to win just to save some face in this town, because it's so important to everybody," Baker said.

Baker insisted the Cubs were not in a slump, saying the word carries "negative connotations." He noted the team has been in every contest in their four-game losing streak and called it a "bad streak magnified because you're playing the White Sox."

"If you get in the middle of a hurricane, you can do whatever you want to do, but you're still in a hurricane," he said.

Was Baker surprised that the games carry so much significance in Chicago?

"I didn't know what to expect," he said. "I don't put any added importance on it because I do the same thing every day. I do the best I can to win every game every day. … But hey, man, since it's important to everybody, I'll start putting some more ..."

Baker stopped in mid-thought and changed directions.

"I can't put any more importance on it than I do every day," he said. "I try to manage hard and go home tired every day. I've been exhausted every day for about six days in a row. Eleven [losses] out of 16 [games] ... I've been exhausted."

Sosa speaks

Sammy Sosa was all smiles after Sunday's game until being asked why he ended his media boycott. Sosa said Saturday he would explain his decision Sunday. But when asked about it, he became incensed.

"You don't want me to talk?" he said. "Thank you. That's it. That's good enough. I'm talking, right? Just be happy then, right? Are you trying to start something again? OK, I'm finished with you guys."

Sosa then ended the interview by shooing away reporters.

Funk-free bullpen

Mike Remlinger and Joe Borowski combined for a scoreless ninth Sunday, ending the Cubs' streak of four straight horrific outings by the bullpen.

"We lost four in a row, but actually we should've won five or six in a row," Borowski said. "It gets magnified because it was four games in a row we [blew]. ... You have 162 games.

"We're going to get out of that funk sooner or later. We've been doing it all year."

Pitch selection

Reliever Antonio Alfonseca shook off catcher Paul Bako before throwing a slider that Jose Valentin hit for the game-winning home run on Friday. On Saturday, Alfonseca gave up a game-tying two-run homer to Aaron Rowand, also on a slider.

"It's not only him," Baker said. Todd "Wellemeyer got beat [Wednesday] on his third best pitch, his changeup [on Brooks Kieschnick's home run]. And Borowski got beat by [Geoff] Jenkins on his slider. Alfonseca got beat two days in a row on his slider.

"You live and you learn and hopefully he learned from that situation. You don't get beat on your second or third best pitch. But he has the option to shake it off, and the catcher has the option to call it."

Wellemeyer was optioned to Triple-A Iowa after Sunday's game to make room for first baseman Hee Seop Choi.

Guzman watch

Double-A starter Angel Guzman will have his shoulder examined Monday by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. An MRI of Guzman's shoulder showed no tear, but even in a best-case scenario, Guzman is expected to miss several weeks.

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