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Thursday, April 19, 2012
Cubs return home to lick their wounds

By Doug Padilla

MIAMI – The Cubs now limp home from a rough first road trip where the numbers spoke a grim tale.

Five consecutive defeats ended the trip after a decisive victory on Friday at St. Louis.

Ten defeats on the season left them tied with the San Diego Padres for most in baseball.

Six combined runs in the three defeats to the Marlins was a meager output, especially when considering the Marlins scored at least five runs in each game.

One player sent home, when Kerry Wood left the trip to get a cortisone shot in his right shoulder. If he isn’t available to pitch by this weekend he will be put on the disabled list.

Zero home runs against the Marlins making it the second time in four series they failed to hit the ball out of the ballpark.

“It will be nice to get back home,” manager Dale Sveum said. “Obviously it’s not a good trip after starting 1-0 and playing a nice ballgame while swinging the bats. We have some god matchups coming up and hopefully we swing the bats and play crisp games. We have to play good games.”

Chris Volstad, Paul Maholm and Ryan Dempster all face the Cincinnati Reds this weekend. But even if the starters step up in the series they are still going to need some run support.

“Every team has stretches where you don’t hit and we’re in one of them,” Epstein said before the game. “But we have certain guys with offensive upside and so it’s a continual process of having those guys reach that upside and start swinging the bats better.

“The way you score runs is by getting guys on base and have guys swinging the bat well at the same time, multiple guys at the same time. We don’t have that right now.”

Following the Reds into Wrigley Field will be the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. And it won’t get any easier on the next road trip as visits to Philadelphia and Cincinnati await.