Given their recent siege of injuries, many consider it remarkable that they have been able to remain at the .500 level.
Either way, they think the start of a four-game series with NL East-leading Florida, and of a six-game homestand, is the time to start pouring a little more into that cup.
"This wasn't a good trip for us," Ryan Dempster said after the conclusion of a 2-4 trek with Wednesday's 10-0 blowout loss in Arizona. "It's time to get back home and start playing some good baseball, to get back on track."
Aramis Ramirez may not ride those rails for a while. The third baseman, inactive since sustaining a calf injury on Friday in St. Louis, will again try running during early Wrigley Field workouts. If that test does not go any better than a similar dry run on Tuesday in Phoenix, the Cubs will put him on the disabled list and recall Bobby Scales from Triple-A Iowa.
"We've gone as far as we can without an extra infielder," said manager Lou Piniella. "It's decision time. If we have to do something, we'll bring up Scales. He's been in the Minor Leagues a long time, and it'll be a wonderful opportunity for him."
Scales, 31, has appeared in 992 games during a decade-long Minor League career. He has yet to appear in a Major League game.
CHC: LHP Sean Marshall (0-1, 4.50 ERA)
The lefty posted a quality start in his last outing against the Cardinals, but he didn't get any offensive support. Marshall held the Redbirds to three runs on six hits and one walk over six innings, striking out five. He did his part, reaching on an error in the fifth, which led to the Cubs' first run. He's 1-3 with a 4.38 ERA in his career against the Marlins.
FLA: RHP Chris Volstad (2-0, 2.70 ERA)
Volstad got the no-decision against the Phillies on Saturday after yielding three runs on four hits through seven innings. The 22-year-old right-hander gave up two solo home runs -- to opposing pitcher Chan Ho Park and slugger Ryan Howard -- and ended up walking one while striking out six. In the sixth, Volstad had the bases loaded with nobody out, but he got out of it with just one run across when he got Howard to ground into a double play and forced Jayson Werth into a groundout to shortstop. On Thursday, he'll face a Cubs team he gave up four runs to through 12 innings in two no-decisions last year.
Footnote to Carlos Zambrano's hitting feat on Tuesday, when he came within a triple of a cycle: No pitcher has hit for the cycle in MLB history. Closest call: Jimmy Ryan, a Cubs outfielder, pitched in with some mopup duty in a 21-17 victory over the Detroit Wolverines on July 28, 1888 -- a game in which he also hit for the cycle, making him the only one to do that and pitch in the same game. ... The Cubs remained without a series win in Arizona since Aug. 22-24, 2003. ... Within the mess of Wednesday's 10-0 loss, Cubs pitchers held the D-backs to 1-for-6 with two outs and men in scoring position, improving their NL-best mark in that category to 13-for-83. ... Wednesday's start was the 200th of Dempster's career.
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Official game notes
Friday: Cubs (Rich Harden, 2-1, 3.86) vs. Marlins (Graham Taylor, 0-1, 9.82), 1:20 p.m. CT
Saturday: Cubs (Ted Lilly, 2-2, 3.80) vs. Marlins (Anibal Sanchez, 1-2, 4.13), 12:05 p.m. CT
Sunday: Cubs (Carlos Zambrano, 2-1, 4.64) vs. Marlins (Ricky Nolasco, 1-2, 6.92), 1:20 p.m. CT