|ESPN.com: MLB Playoffs 2008||[Print without images]|
|Ryan Dempster, who predicted a World Series title for the Cubs back in spring training, didn't get his team off to a good start in this postseason.|
On Wednesday night, the Cubs were smacked around like a sparring partner by their Hollywood counterparts. The Dodgers hit three home runs, and that doesn't count the two fly balls Cubs outfielders snagged with their backs to the wall. The Dodgers went down in order only one time, in the first. Before the game, Piniella warned that his pitchers would need to "stay away from the walks," adding that, "walks can hurt you in this type of environment, a heck of a lot." Cubs pitchers not only walked eight, but they walked Dodgers pitcher Derek Lowe twice. "I can't remember us doing that all summer," Piniella said. "You walk the pitcher to get the front part, middle part of their lineup? That's tough to do." On offense, Soriano continued to personify the team's postseason struggles. He's 2-for-his-past-18 in the postseason with the Cubs. On Wednesday, he failed to hit the ball out of the infield, striking out twice while popping out to short, second and first. "I had a game plan against him, but he threw a lot of sinkers and made good pitches to me," Soriano said. "I just need to regroup and get ready for [Game 2]. We need to win [Thursday]." Chicago's only runs came on Mark DeRosa's wind-aided, opposite-field, two-run homer in the second. From that point on, only three Cubs players reached second base. "You have to put pressure on the opposing pitcher, and we didn't do that at all," said center fielder Jim Edmonds, who went 1-for-4. "But this isn't over. It's the first to three wins; it doesn't matter if it's the first three or the last three. We just need to get three." Edmonds, Lee and everyone else in the Cubs' clubhouse knows Thursday is a must-win. They simply can't head for Los Angeles down 2-0 in the series. And even though their paranoia-filled fan base might be searching for the nearest skyscraper and pondering whether or not it's time to jump, the team that has won 11 of its past 14 series dating back to Aug. 1 still is supremely confident. "We're going to score a bunch of runs, Big Z is going to throw a gem and we're going to head back to Los Angeles tied 1-1," DeRosa said. "That's what I believe is going to happen." Wayne Drehs is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.