There were no breakthroughs for the Cubs on offense Monday night.
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The Cubs had runners, a whole bunch of runners, on base in every inning but one against the Braves. They stayed on base in a 3-0 loss.
Cubs batters left 15 runners stranded and went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position as they dropped their second straight. Even manager Mike Quade lost count.
"Plenty of opportunities, just kept on looking for the big hit," said Quade, whose team fell to 56-72. "Eleven baserunners, something like that? Was it 15? Geez. It's always good to do some damage early. We created plenty of opportunities, that's for sure."
The Cubs even drew 7 walks, tops on the season. And they couldn't even make those work, so Quade couldn't fault the approaches at the plate.
"I don't notice a different approach," he said. "We're not having the same success, obviously, in a lot of those situations. I don't see a big difference in guys' at-bats when there's nobody on or when there's people on base in scoring position."
The loss went to starter Ryan Dempster (10-9, 4.60) ERA, who went 6 innings and gave up 6 hits and 3 runs.
One year ago Monday, Lou Piniella retired as manager with Quade taking over. Dempster was asked if the Cubs felt an obligation now to play hard for Quade, whose own job status is uncertain.
"I think we have an obligation to the game of baseball to play all 162 games," Dempster said. "These are the times of year when people are tired. We can go out there and win games just on hustle and determination alone."
Still in there:
Right-hander Casey Coleman starts Tuesday after coming off a 10-hit, 4-run performance at Houston last Wednesday. Coleman lasted just 3⅔ innings and took the loss. In two stints with the Cubs this year, he's 2-5 with a 7.43 ERA.
"He's still in there," said Mike Quade. "Right now, the five guys are there. I don't see how or when or why that changes. He's a guy who needs to pitch and pitch well."
Two pitchers who spent time with the Cubs this year have been placed on the disabled list at Class AAA Iowa. Left-handed reliever Scott Maine went on the DL after suffering a sprained left ankle. Righty reliever Justin Berg is out for the second time this season with a sore right elbow.
At Class A Daytona, outfielder Matt Szczur hit a pair of home runs Sunday. Szczur, a baseball and football star in his college days at Villanova, began the year at Class A Peoria before being promoted.
Basketball analyst Dick Vitale was on hand to promote a children's book, "Dickie V's ABCs and 1-2-3s," published by Ascend Books. The book features a push-button that activates the sound of Vitale's voice.
The book sells for $14.95, and all proceeds go to Pediatric Cancer Research. It's available in bookstores and at amazon.com.