MILWAUKEE _ Off to an interesting start already at Miller Park. Kerry Wood is not with the Cubs because of a bad stomach ailment. Manager Mike Quade said Wood is “getting IVs” back in Chicago and that he’s day to day. Reed Johnson was described by Quade as “stiff and sore,” which is likely a loose translation for recurring back problems for Johnson. He’s also listed formally as day to day.
Center fielder Marlon Byrd got into a shouting match with a fan (actually two) wearing a Cubs shirt during the team’s stretch. The fan told Byrd the Cubs “suck.” Byrd told him to put a Brewers jersey on and called him “pathetic.” (One of the guys was holding a beer, and I’m sure it wasn’t his first of the day.) A few minutes later, though, Byrd was signing a bunch of autographs and posing for pictures with other fans.
Lineup vs lefty Chris Narveson:
The Cubs tonight open a 10-game road trip tonight against the three top teams in the NL Central: Milwaukee, St. Louis and Pittsburgh, and Quade put on quite the brave face.
“Teams that we’ve competed well against in the past,” he said. “I know we’re on the road, but we’re playing better. We got a bunch of quality starts on the homestand, which we’ll need some more of. And if we get those, we’ve got every right to think we’ve got a real good chance to compete with these guys. You know what? It’s a funny game. We might come out of this road trip in real good shape as far as how we play here. If we do, there’s still a lot of baseball left. I take nothing for granted and put nothing past these guys. We won three in a row against Houston. Let’s see if we can win tonight and go from there.”
So does he think the Cubs can get back into the race at 18 games under .500 chasing three teams? That math usually doesn’t work.
“Why not?" he said. "What are we, 11 back. What if we won 10 out of 12? Who knows? What would the division be? If we won 10 out of 12, we would be beating some people that are 4 or 5 or 6 games over. It’s an interesting division to be in that situation. What are there, 60 games left? Let’s go play them and see.
“I’m not a lunatic. I understand there’s a lot of work to do ahead of us. But we’re plahing the right clubs, and let’s see if we can’t put something together.
“We lost several games late on the homestand, and that hurt. But I think we got 7, 8 quality starts. I believe we’re a decent club if we get those quality starts. Let’s play for that, believe in our bullpen finishing things up and let’s see what happens.”
From the game notes: Dempster is 11-1 with a 2.52 ERA in 15 starts against Milwaukee dating to the beginning of 2008. The Cubs are 12-3 in those starts. In his last 8 starts against the Brewers, Dempster is 6-0 with a 1.83 ERA. Ted Lilly won 7 straight decisions over the Astros from 2007-09. In 45 career games against Milwaukee, Dempster is 15-3 with a 2.50 ERA...James Russell has not allowed a run this month while Rodrigo Lopez is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA in 4 July games. Russell has tossed 13.1 consecutive scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
Class AAA Iowa lost to Nashville 8-3. Jay Jackso worked 5 innings, giving up 7 hits and 6 runs, 4 earned. He's 5-10 with a 6.23. ERA. Brett Jackson was 2-for-4 with a stolen base and an RBI. Scott Moore hit his eighth homer.
Tennessee (AA) was off. Class A Daytona picked up 13 hits in a 5-3 win over St. Lucie. Angel Guzman started and worked 2 scoreless innings, giving up 1 hit while walking none and striking out three. Matt Szczur hit his second homer, going 2-for-4. Greg Rohan was 3-for-5.
Peoria (A) lost 4-3 to Bowling Green in the bottom of the ninth. Starter Austin Kirk worked 5.1 innings, giving up 4 hits and 1 run while walking two and striking out five. Rubi Silva was 2-for-4.
Boise (A) lost 8-2 to Spokane. Su-Min Jun took the loss, working 4 innings and giving up 3 hits and 3 runs. Paul Hoilman hit his ninth homer. He was drafted this year in the 19th round.