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Cubs in throes of serious struggle after 10-0 D'backs rout
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff

Chicago Cubs' Derrek Lee is unable to come up with a ground ball by Arizona Diamondbacks' Mark Reynolds in the first inning Wednesday,.


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Published: 4/29/2009 5:45 PM | Updated: 4/29/2009 8:58 PM

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Maybe Doug Davis lulled the Cubs to sleep.

Or maybe the Cubs were tired Wednesday afternoon after playing Tuesday night.

Whatever, the Cubs are a team in need of a loud wake-up call. After routing the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-3 Tuesday night, the Cubs turned around and had the favor returned to them Wednesday, as the Diamondbacks beat them 10-0.

It was an all-around failure for the Cubs:

• Cubs batters managed just 2 hits off Davis, who pitched 7 innings and stymied the Cubs with his deliberate approach on the mound.

• Ryan Dempster, the Cubs' starting pitcher, gave up 6 hits and 5 runs.

• Dempster walked three batters, and it got only worse from there. Carlos Marmol, returning from a knee injury, set alarm bells ringing by walking four in one-third of an inning. Closer Kevin Gregg, in the game to get some work, walked three and couldn't finish a mop-up inning.

When it was all over, the Cubs limped home with a 2-4 road trip, and their overall record stands at 10-10.

There have been rumblings that the Cubs were overconfident coming out of spring training after having won the National League Central two straight years.

With April almost over manager Lou Piniella may have seen Wednesday as a time to launch a strike - perhaps too late to be pre-emptive - against complacency.

"We're not going to be able to just go out there and play without intensity and go through the motions and think we can win baseball games, I can tell you that," Piniella told reporters. "And the quicker that sinks in, I think, the better."

The Cubs were out of this one quickly. Dempster allowed the first four Diamondbacks to reach base. Chad Tracy hit a 2-run double, and Eric Byrnes singled home another.

In the third, Tracy led off with a home run.

"We know we're a better team than how we've been playing," Dempster told the media. "Because of the talent we have, at some point, we have to start playing good baseball."

The rout was completed in the seventh, when the Diamondbacks batted around and took advantage of 4 walks (1 intentional and 2 walks with the bases loaded) by ace reliever Carlos Marmol, pitching for the first time since last Friday, when he sprained his left knee. Marmol's command was all over the place, and he was replaced by Jeff Samardzija, who gave up a bases-loaded double to Justin Upton.

Gregg also walked in a run and had words for home-plate umpire Jeff Kellogg as he exited the game.

Bruce Miles' game tracker

The endless inning: The first inning took a half-hour to play. It featured 30 pitches from D'Backs starter Doug Davis and 31 from the Cubs' Ryan Dempster. There are no rain delays in the desert, but Davis often suffices.

Ugly line: Carlos Marmol made his first relief appearance since leaving last Friday with a knee injury. He threw 22 pitches, only 5 for strikes, as he worked one-third of an inning, walking 4 (one intentionally) and giving up 4 runs.

Wednesday's grade: F. The Cubs managed just 2 hits off Davis and none against the Arizona bullpen. Cubs pitchers issued 10 walks.