Cubs have been 'snake-bit' in close games

SEATTLE -- It's no secret the Chicago Cubs continue to let leads slip away late in games.

It happened again during Friday's 5-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners, as the Cubs' bullpen squandered a 4-1 seventh-inning lead, blowing its 15th game in 31 chances.

The Cubs have now lost 24 games in which they've had the lead at some point, which ties for the league lead -- not exactly a list you want to be on top of.

"We've had a little trouble closing out games in whatever inning it may be," manager Dave Sveum said before Saturday's matchup against the Mariners. "It's been tough to get those outs."

Sveum was asked if the late-game struggles have affected the clubhouse in any way.

"No, it hasn't," he said. "Our offense has been picking it up and doing its job, but we've just been snake-bit in closing games out."

While the bullpen hasn't been great, closer Kevin Gregg is a perfect 12-for-12 in save opportunities this season. Sveum was asked how he would replace Gregg if the closer were to be dealt before next month's trade deadline.

"He'd be tough to replace," Sveum said. "He's done a great job. We'd maybe look at [Blake] Parker because of what he's done in Triple-A, but obviously we've got to use someone. It's kind of a wait-and-see situation."

Today's lineup is essentially the same as Friday's, with Alfonso Soriano getting the nod at DH again. Soriano hit his fifth home run as a Cubs DH on Friday, which extended a franchise record.

Welington Castillo is back behind the plate Saturday after Dioner Navarro started the last two games.