04/27/2013 12:01 AM ET
Close games become commonplace for Cubs
By Darci Miller / Special to MLB.com
MIAMI -- The 2013 season has been a season of almosts for the Cubs.
The team has seen 18 of its first 21 games decided by three runs or fewer, which equals the franchise record set in 1950. The Cubs have gone 6-12 in these contests.
In the last four games, not only did two runs or fewer decide the winner, but three decisions came down to the final at-bat. Luis Valbuena was the source of the late-game heroics on Thursday night, knocking a solo home run off Miami closer Steve Cishek into the Marlins' bullpen with two outs in the ninth to give the Cubs a 4-3 lead they would not relinquish.
"I tried to be aggressive," said Valbuena. "I was hoping he would give me a good ball to hit."
The Cubs haven't had a good run of it lately. On Monday they fell to Cincinnati, 5-4, in a 13-inning marathon, but collected a 4-2 win in 10 innings on Tuesday. Prior to that, they were on a four-game skid, losing to Milwaukee by two runs or fewer three times.
"It's part of the game. You can't control that," said Valbuena. "If we lost last night, you have to come here today and try and get past it. It's a new day and you have the opportunity to win.
"I have a good team, and we know what we can do."
Garza throws a day after scratched rehab start
MIAMI -- Matt Garza threw on flat ground on Friday afternoon after being scratched from his scheduled rehab start with Double-A Tennessee on Thursday.
Garza reportedly felt no tightness or soreness and will throw on flat ground again on Saturday.
Manager Dale Sveum said the right-hander would throw a bullpen session before his first rehab start, which Garza tweeted will be on Wednesday.
The Cubs' original plan was to have Garza make three Minor League starts, but Sveum says things may have changed.
"We'll evaluate all that," he said, "but he hasn't lost any time, so we'll probably stick with three. But it might look a little bit more like four."
Garza is currently on pace to return at the end of May barring any more setbacks. The option to put him on the 60-day disabled list does exist, but Sveum says the team isn't currently considering that.
"It hasn't been brought up," Sveum said. "That wouldn't make any sense unless we absolutely needed a [roster] spot."
Fujikawa throws first 'pen session since landing on DL
MIAMI -- Cubs closer Kyuji Fujikawa headed to the bullpen Friday for the first time since being put on the disabled list for a strained right forearm.
Fujikawa was dealing with discomfort for several days before being put on the 15-day disabled list on April 13. He'd blown a save the day before, but ended up with the win as the Cubs rallied against the Giants. As his arm had been bothering him, Fujikawa had to adjust his arm angle to try to avoid discomfort.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said that Fujikawa will make two rehab appearances before retaking his place on the roster.
"We haven't talked about it, but I'm sure it'll be two appearances," Sveum said. "We don't want to keep him down and give him back-to-back appearances, something like that."
Fujikawa has said that, when suffering from this injury in the past, it has kept him sidelined for 10 days. After doing the quick math, Sveum noted that Fujikawa's 15th day falls at the end of this road trip.
In the bullpen Friday, the closer threw 25 pitches on flat ground. The plan is to have him throw 30-35 pitches in the 'pen on Monday.
Darci Miller is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.