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Friday, August 2, 2013
The Lake show continues

By Jesse Rogers

CHICAGO -- Now it's getting scary.

Chicago Cubs outfielder Junior Lake is doing things no one has seen in Chicago in many years. On Friday, Lake became the first Cub since 1916 to have two four-hit games within his first 16 of his career, though it came in a 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Junior Lake
On Friday, Junior Lake had the second four-hit game of his short major league career, and he seems to be continuing to make adjustments.
"It feels so good," Lake said through an interpreter afterward. "I see the result for the work I do pregame."

Lake had four singles and continues to make more contact on off-speed pitches. His fourth hit was off a sinker. On Thursday, he homered on a slider.

"I'm seeing the ball real well now," Lake said.

He's opening up eyes around the league, but those who have seen him for a while -- such as teammate Starlin Castro -- aren't shocked by his start.

"He was good in the minors and last winter," Castro said. "He's a big, strong athlete. No, no, no. I'm not surprised."

Castro predicts Lake won't get a big head or become brash about his exploits. Lake just wants to play baseball and go home. Speaking of home, Lake isn't ready to buy a house or anything in Chicago, but soon he'll move out of his hotel and into Castro's home for the time being. It might not be long before he may take up a more permanent residence. The minor leagues might be a thing of the past.

"My work will make the decision," Lake said.

Castro added: "I think he's played plenty of time in the minor leagues. He's going to be pretty good."

Manager Dale Sveum says he knows more adjustments are coming, both from pitchers and from Lake. For now, he's letting the .358 hitter just ride the wave.

"We can't forget this guy tore up winter ball and was doing well in Triple-A," Sveum said. "Hopefully this stuff continues."

Wood Off: Travis Wood had nothing working for him Friday, lasting only 3 1/3 innings.

"It took four months for something like that to happen," Sveum said. "Not too many starters will go through a whole season without having a little hiccup."

There was some concern plate umpire Alan Porter wasn't helping matters -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and second baseman Mark Ellis were tossed for arguing his strike zone -- but Wood wouldn't let himself off the hook after walking four consecutive batters as he did in the third inning.

"I was just missing," he said. "You don't walk four guys without something being wrong."

Borbon's brain cramp: With former Cub Carlos Marmol on the mound, a ninth-inning rally was stopped short after Julio Borbon was throw out trying to get to third on a passed ball with none out and down four runs.

"When you're down by four runs and there are no outs, you can stand on second base because we have to get a bunch of hits," Sveum said. "It's not the brightest thing I've ever seen."

Having first-hand knowledge of Marmol's ninth-inning meltdowns, Sveum says he knows a chance for a comeback slipped away.

"To say the least, we let him off the hook," Sveum said.