Cubs build early lead, hang on in nail-biter

Man, the Cubs just ... can't ... get ... that big hit. On Sunday in Milwaukee, Cubs hitters were 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position, and they picked up right where they left off Monday as the first two batters reached base and the next two proceeded to do ... nothing.
But wait. What's this? Alfonso Soriano with a two-out, bases loaded double? And then in the second, a two-run rally after two were out and nobody on? Now THAT is more like it..
It was Castro and Barney who came around to score on that double in the first, and those two actually combined to score all five of the Cubs runs. This was the second time we've seen Castro lead off with Barney behind him; on April 3, each of them scored one run in a 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh. It's very, very early, but Barney is hitting over .300 with three RBI and five runs. Maybe this Castro-Barney thing could work? Fun fact: Barney's OBP is lower than his batting average. Hard to do. 
It felt like it was going to be an easy victory: the top of the order was cranking out runs and Ryan Dempster was cruising along into the fifth. He started to lose command at that point, though, and labored to get through the sixth. Quade sent him out there for the seventh as well but the tank was empty. Dempster came about an inch away from giving up back-to-back-to-back home runs and was pulled after his 115th pitch, and suddenly the game was in question.
Fortunately, the bullpen made the slim lead hold up and got Dempster his first win. Remember his extreme home/road disparity back in 2008? (14 home wins, 3 road wins) Well in the early going here in 2011, Dempster is now 0-2 at home and 1-0 on the road. Wow, that's two fun facts in one blog post.
The Cubs could use a bit more from the lefties in their lineup: Pena's hitting .174 while Colvin's hitting .115.

Dave Duncan is fucking at it again
Jaime Garcia couldn't match his insane rookie season, right? 1-0 with a 0.60 ERA. DUNCAN.
Kyle Lohse is going to remember that he's a shitstick at some point, right? Two starts, 15 innings pitched, one walk and 10 strikeouts, 3.00 ERA. DUNCAN.
Kyle McClellan is--wait, who the hell is Kyle McClellan? Six innings in each of his first two starts, 2.25 ERA. DUNCAN.
/shaking fists toward heavens


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  • I was at this one. The top of the order went 7 for 8 with a walk the first three time through the order. I actually blame Dempster's problems last night on a suspect bullpen. I assume Quade would have thought twice about sending Dempster back out in the 7th if the pen was pitching better.

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