When Darwin Barney dunked a bloop RBI single into right field in the sixth inning Sunday, you couldn't have blamed him for saying, "I needed that."
It's been a rough stretch at the plate for the Cubs' slick-fielding second baseman. He entered Sunday in a 1-for-19 slump over the previous seven days.
While the results weren't there, it wasn't for lack of trying, according to Cubs manager Dale Sveum.
"He's not feeling very good at the plate," Sveum said. "Barney's one of those guys, he was here on his day off hitting. I saw him here on his day off. He's just one of those guys that's a grinder and going to do everything he can to make himself a better player."
Barney had a ready answer for putting in the overtime.
"The season's only seventh months long; why would you want to waste a day?" he said. "It's just one of those things where, unfortunately, my family was out of town, so I didn't have much to do. It's not the first time. It's one of those things where if you feel like you need it, why not do it?"
Sveum was asked if "the long season" was a reason for Barney's slump.
"Sometimes you want to use a lot of excuses for slumps," the manager said. "The bottom line is they happen. Also, the last two or three days, he's lined out about four times, to center field, and hit the ball hard, too. You can look too far into some things and get a little confused of slumps and pitch selection and when to be aggressive and when not to be, too. Sometimes it's not just mechanical."
Liking the lefties:
Rookie left-hander Brooks Raley will stay in the rotation and start Thursday's series finale against the Brewers at Wrigley Field.
Raley and another rookie lefty, Chris Rusin, have acquitted themselves well since filling rotation spots because of trades and injury.
"They've gotten put into a situation where they had to come up here and perform, and they've done a nice job," said Dale Sveum. "The bottom line with guys like that, they have to learn how to get through a lineup the second time around a team faces them and those kinds of things to make the adjustments after major-league hitters have seen you one time.
"But they've done a good job. They're poised, and their mound presence has been good. They haven't been deer-in-headlights by no means, and they've done a good job on the mound."
Kids came to play:
Shortstop Starlin Castro was 2-for-3 with 3 runs scored in Sunday's 5-0 victory over the Rockies.
Brett Jackson was 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and a run. And Anthony Rizzo had 2 singles and 2 walks, one intentional.