04/08/12 7:06 PM ET
Sveum has no plans to alter bullpen
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Kerry Wood was not available on Sunday, but it had nothing to do with his performance in the Cubs' first two games. The 34-year-old right-hander was simply getting a day off. Carlos Marmol, who suffered a blown save in the first game and took the loss on Saturday, was available for the series finale against the Nationals. Sveum had no plans on calling his closer in for a pep talk.
"Right now, I don't consider him struggling," Sveum said. "Obviously, the results aren't what we want. [Saturday] with the matchup with [Jayson] Werth, I think he needed to throw some sliders for strikes and he would've been OK."
Instead, Marmol walked Werth, then gave up a two-run single to pinch-hitter Chad Tracy and a RBI double to Roger Bernadina as the Nationals posted a 7-4 win.
What was encouraging for Sveum was the performance by Rafael Dolis, who retired the side in the seventh.
"Sometimes you just have to throw somebody out there to find out if they can pitch in those situations, and [Dolis] did a nice job," Sveum said.
The Cubs started the season 0-2, and both losses came in the late innings. Those can be difficult to deal with.
"One thing you learn in this game is you have to put it to rest and not dwell on it, because that's the kind of stuff that will drive you nuts if that stuff is keeping you up at night," Sveum said. "You've got to move on. That's part of the game. There's a team on the other side of the fence that's doing its best to kick your [backside] as well as you're trying to kick theirs.
"Somebody's going to win, somebody's going to lose," he said. "Sometimes they're easy losses, and sometimes they're really tough, but the bottom line is a loss is a loss, a win is a win, no matter if you win by 12 or lose by 12. They're all the same."
Easter an anniversary of sorts for Sveum
CHICAGO -- On Sunday, some of the Cubs players' children were looking for Easter eggs in the outfield grass. For Cubs manager Dale Sveum, Easter Sunday has a special meaning.
Twenty-five years ago on Easter Sunday, Sveum hit a walk-off homer at County Stadium to give the Brewers a 6-4 win over the Rangers for Milwaukee's 12th straight win. That was on April 19, 1987, so technically the official anniversary will be in 11 days.
"I actually forgot all about it until I got a few texts from the clubbies in Milwaukee reminding me," Sveum said Sunday.
The Brewers apparently included the homer, which he hit off Greg Harris, in the video highlights shown pregame at Miller Park. By the way, Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio pitched 1 1/3 innings in relief in that game, played at County Stadium in front of 29,357.
The Brewers trailed, 4-1, going into the ninth inning 25 years ago. Milwaukee had two on and one out when Rob Deer hit a three-run homer to tie the game. One out later, Jim Gantner walked, and Sveum then connected on the walk-off blast.
Sveum has fond memories of old County Stadium.
"There were a lot of good times," he said. "That's where you grow up as a player. That's the one thing you remember, is the good times. That's the one place I got to play everyday, too. Wherever you come up in the big leagues, that will always be a special place, even though there were some pretty cold days, like we know here [at Wrigley Field]. It was the same thing at County Stadium, with the wind blowing off the lake."
Volstad excited for Cubs debut at Wrigley
CHICAGO -- On Monday, Chris Volstad will make his Cubs debut when the team opens a four-game series against the Brewers. Volstad can't wait.
"It's been fun here so far, the way the fans have been," said the right-hander, acquired from the Marlins for Carlos Zambrano. "Opening weekend was awesome here, and something I've never seen before. I'm ready to get going now and get that first game, and get the season started."
It's different because the Marlins, where Volstad pitched before, didn't have 40,000 fans every day.
"The energy level, excitement -- and it's not a secret what was going on as far as attendance in Florida," Volstad said. "There's definitely a difference."
So far, Wrigley Field has been two different ballparks, depending on the wind. Volstad will peek at the flags on top of the scoreboard on Monday.
"The first day, it was howling in and about 40 degrees, and [Saturday] was nicer," he said. "It's something you've got to get used to. For me, a sinkerballer, trying to keep it down, the way the conditions are doesn't really matter."
Bryan LaHair, who has been bothered by tightness in his back, started at first base on Sunday in the Cubs' series finale against the Nationals, but Blake DeWitt was a late scratch because of back spasms.
LaHair, who had not started since a Cactus League game March 29, went 2-for-4 with two doubles. DeWitt was to start at second base and bat second, but Darwin Barney was inserted into the Cubs lineup. DeWitt is day to day.
The Cubs have gotten quality starts from their starters in each of the first three games. That last time that happened to open a season was 2001, coincidentally a home series against the Expos (now the Nationals), when Jon Lieber, Kerry Wood and Kevin Tapani did so.
"It's great when your starters can do what they've done the last three days -- it helps matters a lot," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
Jeff Samardzija got a shaving-cream pie in the face postgame on Sunday after going 8 2/3 innings. Don't think the right-hander didn't notice the culprit.
"[Matt] Garza must have done it a couple times," Samardzija said. "He got it in my nose and my mouth and my eyes. Don't worry. He's going to pitch good one game. I'm not worried about that."
Starlin Castro singled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, extending to Sept. 17 last season. He also has reached safely in 43 consecutive games, dating to Aug. 15. The Cubs' record is 44, set by Riggs Stephenson in 1928.
It's a perfect matchup for Sveum. The Phoenix Coyotes will play the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the NHL playoffs, and Sveum is angling for tickets. He's admitted to being a Coyotes fan and, hopefully, Chicago fans can understand that's because Sveum lives in the Phoenix area in the offseason.
What's his prediction for the first-round series?
"You can't get me there -- I'll get killed in this city," Sveum said, laughing. "The cool thing about hockey is when the playoffs start ... you're always rooting for that Game 7. There's nothing like being at a Game 7 or watching a Game 7."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.