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Monday, December 4

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Cubs Tue Apr 12 2011

Cubs Rebound After Tough Loss

Thumbnail image for cubs.gifIt's still early in the season, but the Cubs really needed Monday's 5-4 win in Houston after losing Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee. The offense got rolling early against nemesis Nelson Figueroa. With Kosuke Fukudome nursing a tight hamstring, Starlin Castro took over the leadoff duties. He filled in admirably, going 3-for-5 with hits in his first three at-bats. He scored all three times on-base. Between him and the No. 2 hitter Darwin Barney they were a combined 5-for-5 with five runs. Barney had an RBI triple.

They had Figueroa on the ropes in the first and almost came away empty-handed, but Alfonso Soriano stepped up with a two-run double to give them the early lead. They scored again in the second and fourth. Not only did the offense need to redeem itself, but Cubs starter Ryan Dempster need to right the ship after dropping his first two decisions.

Dempster breezed through the Houston lineup before giving up a run in the fifth. Things got a little dicey in the seventh as he appeared to run out of gas, which made the game a lot closer than it needed to be. Dempster went 6 1/3, giving up four earned runs and striking out nine. The Chicago bullpen did its job and got out of a couple of tough jams to secure Dempster's first win of the year.

It is hard to complain about a win, but there are a few things that come to mind. While the bats came to life they weren't especially efficient. They've had opportunities for big innings and they don't capitalize on them. Simply put, the Cubs need go "Mortal Kombat" on their opponents and "Finish them!" When you allow teams to hang around it makes games closer than they need to be, and this was a prime example.

The other problem I have is Ryan Dempster was left in way too long. He should have been pulled after the sixth inning. In his first two starts, he appeared to run out gas at or around the sixth. As a result the Astros came within one run of tying it. On the other hand, I understand Mike Quade's reasoning for not going to the pen, as it is going to be used heavily Tuesday night when James Russell makes an emergency start in place of the injured Andrew Cashner.

And in the end, a win's a win.

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