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updated: 6/7/2012 8:09 PM

Cubs' lament: 'It is what it is'

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  • Matt Garza turned in another quality start for the Cubs on Thursday in Milwaukee.

      Matt Garza turned in another quality start for the Cubs on Thursday in Milwaukee.
    Associated Press

  • The Brewers' Norichika Aoki celebrates his walk-off home run to defeat the Cubs on Thursday in 10 innings.

      The Brewers' Norichika Aoki celebrates his walk-off home run to defeat the Cubs on Thursday in 10 innings.
    Associated Press

 
 

MILWAUKEE -- Two of the more dependable Cubs had the same explanation for the dire situation facing the team following Thursday's 4-3 loss in 10 innings to the Brewers at Miller Park.

"It is what it is," said starting pitcher Matt Garza, who turned in the team's 28th quality start but came away empty.

And what say you, Bryan LaHair, the first baseman who hit a pinch 2-run homer in the eighth inning to give the Cubs a short-lived 3-2 lead?

"It is what it is," said LaHair, who leads the team with 12 homers.

Yes, it is.

Here's what it is: The Cubs are 19-38, which puts them back on a pace to finish with a record of 54-108. In the team's 28 quality starts, the starters have a sparkling ERA of 1.69.

But the team is just 14-14 in those games, thanks either to an imploding bullpen or an offense that won't explode.

It was a little of both Thursday, despite LaHair's late heroics. Recently called-up reliever Manny Corpas suffered a blown save in the bottom of the eighth when he allowed a run.

In the 10th, Casey Coleman gave up a game-winning homer to Norichika Aoki. It was Aoki's second homer of the day and this third of the season.

Before Thursday, the only homer Aoki had hit was an inside-the-park job. His game-winner against the Cubs was Milwaukee's first walk-off home run of the season.

The offense did little with Brewers lefty Randy Wolf, who entered the game with a 6.05 ERA.

In other words, if there's a way to lose, the Cubs have been finding it.

"It's kind of black-and-white," said LaHair, who is batting .311. "It's not fun to lose. We're losing a lot. But we work so hard.

"At the end of the day, if you're going to lose, at least you can look yourself in the mirror and say to yourself, 'Did I give it my all today?' I really feel like everybody in this clubhouse is doing that.

"If we keep doing that just the way it keeps going, I think this clubhouse will click."

Garza saw his ERA fall from 4.10 to 3.99 as he worked 6 innings of 4-hit, 2-run ball. The Cubs have scored 3 or fewer runs while he has been in the game in 9 of his last 11 starts.

"Just keep going, though," said Garza, who is sure to become a prime target of contending teams seeking pitching. "There's another one tomorrow we've got to get ready for.

"Keep going. Keep being ready and keep going out there and playing. We knew coming in this was going to be tough. It is what it is. Just keep going. Keep playing.

"It's going to turn. You see it. We're battling. So it's going to turn. We're just going to keep fighting, keep scrapping away and just keep going."

Of immediate concern, the Cubs will be going to Minnesota on this 10-game road trip that seems like it has gone on forever.

The Cubs opened the trip with 4 losses in San Francisco before dropping two of three to the Brewers.

"It's the same old story for the most part," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "We're getting great starts from our starters. They're going 6 or 7 and giving up 1 or 2 and coming away with a loss, consistently.

"It (the trip) ain't over. We got three more on the road, again, at Minnesota, a bigger park where we've got to do something to score some runs."

bmiles@dailyherald.com

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