Cubs still waiting on Lee, Ramirez

PITTSBURGH -- Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez continue to struggle, and it appears that the offense will either succeed or fail around the at-bats of these all-star caliber players.

Lee, always a stand-up guy, admitted again on Monday that he and Ramirez must hit for the Cubs to win.

"Like I've said all along, that's fair," Lee said after a 2-1 loss to the Pirates, the sixth in seven games to lowly Pittsburgh. "We are hitting three and four in the lineup so we've got to be better."

When approached by the media after the game, Ramirez wasn't interested in talking about the team's latest offensive failure. Lee had recently come out of his slump with a 7-for-9 streak but all of a sudden is 0 for his last 10. Ramirez is 2 for his last 11. On the season, he has 43 strikeouts in 43 games, an amazing figure considering he has only struck out 100 times or more once in his career.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella was asked after the game if moving Lee and Ramirez down in the order is a possibility.

"Yeah, that's an option. There are plenty of options," Piniella said with disappointment. "Derrek? I'm going to give a day off [Tuesday]."

Lee never wants to come out of the lineup and always has tried to talk his managers out of sitting him when he was in a slump.

"No, I don't want to have a day off," Lee said. "He hasn't talked to me about it."

Lee was asked about the team's collective slump and how tough they are on a team's collective psyche.

"You guys [media] keep wanting to make it so tough. We stay positive," Lee said. "You guys may want to write that it's tough and frustrating. We are going to stay positive. We lost one game. We'll come back and win two and the series."