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posted: 8/25/2012 7:54 PM

Latest loss has Sveum scratching his head in disbelief

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  • The Cubs' Joe Mather throws his helmet after being caught stealing at second base in the seventh inning Saturday at Wrigley Field, a play that manager Dale Sveum said proved extremely costly.

    The Cubs' Joe Mather throws his helmet after being caught stealing at second base in the seventh inning Saturday at Wrigley Field, a play that manager Dale Sveum said proved extremely costly.
    Associated Press


Cubs manager Dale Sveum might want to wear a batting helmet in the dugout during games.

Those "growing pains" the team is going through have a way of turning into migraines.

There were a few, shall we say, teachable moments in Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field.

Asked if he wanted to hit his head against the wall, Sveum replied: "I might hit it too hard and might not make it the rest of the game on that one."

The Cubs had a 3-0 lead, and rookie starter Brooks Raley exited with a chance to win even though he gave up a 2-run homer to pinch hitter Josh Rutledge in the fifth, Raley's final inning.

The Rockies tied it in the sixth on a homer by Andrew Brown off reliever Manny Corpas and went ahead in the seventh after the Cubs couldn't turn a couple of grounders into double plays. More on that in a moment.

But what had Sveum scratching his head happened with the Cubs at bat in the seventh with a chance to at least tie the game.

Brett Jackson, who already had doubled and homered, led off with a walk. After Darwin Barney flied out, Joe Mather hit a pinch single, putting runners on first and second. David DeJesus struck out, but Sveum liked the Cubs' chances against lefty reliever Rex Brothers with Josh Vitters at the plate.

But Vitters never got a chance, as Mather was thrown out at second on the back end of an attempted double steal.

"It was missed," Sveum said of instruction. "When a coach tells you not to go anywhere and you do, it was missed. Both of them."

Jackson appeared to have a good jump off second, but Mather not so much off first.

"Joe was going off me, so I think he didn't get a great jump off the jump I got," Jackson said. "(Rockies catcher Wilin) Rosario has got one of the best arms in baseball. Obviously, it's tough. You want to get in scoring position. A basehit gets us ahead.

"Nothing was put on. It wasn't a signed steal. When he (Brothers) was warming up, we talked to (first-base coach Dave) McKay about it. He (Brothers) is pretty slow to the plate, and we thought we could get him."

This is what the Cubs are going to get on some days.

"There are certain situations, this is what we talk about, about slowing the game down," Sveum said. "We had the matchup we want with Vitters up there against the left-handed pitcher. You don't need to be going anywhere. We got a great matchup right there."

On the defensive side, the Cubs might have added extra outs in the top of the seventh. With a man on first, DJ LeMahieu grounded the ball toward the middle. Shortstop Starlin Castro fielded it, ran toward second, stepped on the bag but threw wide of first base.

"I think that was just a lot of bad technique as much as anything," Sveum said. "He probably should have given that ball up to (second baseman Darwin) Barney in that situation."

After a basehit put runners on first and third, lefty Alex Hinshaw came on, making his Cubs debut. He got Carlos Gonzalez to ground to first baseman Anthony Rizzo on a hard-hit ball. Rizzo threw to second, but no one was at first in time to turn a possible double play.

In fairness to Hinshaw, the ball was hit hard and his follow-through took him away from first base.

"It's not the easiest ,,, I'd have to look at the replay to see if there's any hesitation," Sveum said. "But it's not the easiest when you get there, standing on the bag, either."

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