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Saturday, May 5, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Dodgers 5, Cubs 1

By Doug Padilla

CHICAGO – The Cubs dropped Saturday's contest 5-1 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

How it happened: Chris Volstad continues to be the weakest link in the rotation, giving up five runs on four hits and three walks. Starlin Castro had three hits but nobody else was able to get into the act just one day after consistent offensive production netted a victory against a team that came into the game tied for the best record in the National League. Carlos Marmol, recently removed from his closer role, pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Ian Stewart knocked in Castro for Chicago's only run of the game in the ninth inning.

What it means: It doesn’t matter what look the Cubs present, they can’t seem to break through against left-handed pitching. With left-handed hitters David DeJesus, Bryan LaHair and Ian Stewart in the lineup, the Cubs did not score in seven innings against Dodgers lefty Chris Capuano. The Cubs started the day with just 13 runs against left-handers, the lowest total in the National League. To be fair, their 145 at-bats before Saturday were also the lowest in the NL and over 200 less than the league-leading New York Mets.

Outside the box: Volstad is still having issues with two outs, giving up two more runs in that situation Saturday. To make matters worse, those two runs came on a two-run hit from the Dodgers’ pitcher. Just making the pitch he needs has been an issue for Volstad. The tall right-hander entered with a .444 opponents’ batting average with runners in scoring position and a .429 opponents’ batting average with runners in scoring position and two outs.

Off beat: Despite not being scheduled to pitch in the series, former Cub Ted Lilly still managed to make his presence felt. The left-hander, who is having a solid season with the Dodgers, was ejected by home plate umpire Tim Timmons for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. After a particularly low pitch to Bobby Abreu, Lilly barked his displeasure. Timmons tossed him with a casual flip of his hand as if he were brushing crumbs off the dinner table.

Up next: Cubs right-hander Matt Garza (2-1, 2.67 ERA) is scheduled to start against the Dodgers on Sunday but is suffering the effects of a flu-like virus. If he can’t pitch, Travis Wood will be added to the roster and will take the mound instead. The Dodgers will counter with right-hander Aaron Harang (1-2, 5.72) in the 1:20 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.