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Cubs rally falls short against Marlins
Figure this one out:
The Cubs outspend the Marlins $100 million to $30.5 million.
They outhit them .268 to.259.
They outpitch them 3.93 ERA to 4.47.
They even out-field them 24 errors to 45.
But in one of those believe-it-or-nots, the Cubs were beaten by a better team Monday.
Yes, the Marlins have a better record than the Cubs (24-27 compared with 22-27) after Monday's 5-3 debacle at Wrigley Field.
If it's any consolation to Cubs fans, their team is closer to first place in their Central Division (five out) than the Marlins are in the East (nine out).
"I don't really look at where we are in the standings," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "We've got to start winning with a little more consistency, and if we don't, what's the use of looking at the standings."
Monday's loss was another case of stranding baserunners, something the Cubs have been very good at lately. They left two runners stranded in the third and fourth innings, as well as the ninth when Aramis Ramirez struck out to end the game.
"We just need to do a better job of driving in runs," said Derrek Lee, who is in a 5-for-31 slump. "We're getting hits, we're just not driving in runs. I don't know the reason why, but obviously we need to do a better job and we need to do it in a hurry."
On Monday, Byung-Hyun Kim, whose ERA at the start of the day was 7.02, shut out the Cubs for six innings. It wasn't until the ninth inning that the Cubs mounted a too-little-too-late rally that excited what was left of a crowd of 41,630.
So what's wrong with the offense that seems to take turns with the bullpen in the blame game?
"If we had an idea, we … " Piniella said without finishing. "We keep thinking this club is going to hit, and hit the way it's capable of. Until now we haven't been consistent."
Lee made the third out in the third inning with two runners on and in the fifth inning with one on. He did have a hit in the ninth inning right before Kevin Gregg struck out Ramirez, who came into the game with a .432 average, three homers and eight RBIs in his last 10 games.
"When you're behind like we were, you'd like to see if you can get the tying run up to home plate," Piniella said. "Well, we did that and a little more. We had the right guy up there, we just didn't get it done."
"We're going through a stretch right now where we're not scoring many runs," Ramirez said. "That's not our only problem. We're not pitching and we're not hitting."
Actually, the pitching was pretty good Monday, at least from starter Sean Marshall. He allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings, and reliever Scott Eyre was charged with runs in the eighth and ninth innings.
Marshall didn't help himself by booting a bunt on his first pitch of the game, leading to an unearned run. But he didn't feel extra pressure because of the lack of offense.
"I just try to do my job and keep the club within reach," he said. "It's just a matter of time before all of us put it together and we win a bunch of games in a row.
"Sean Marshall has had two starts (four earned runs in 13 1/3 innings), and he's been great," Mark DeRosa said. "It's on us (hitters) to do [better]."