Cubs took lumps on 7,000-mile odyssey

MINNEAPOLIS -- The final numbers from a brutal three-week stretch that saw the Chicago Cubs play 16 road games and log nearly 7,000 air miles were not pretty.

The Cubs lost 14 of those 16 road games, including 10 consecutive at one point. They went from 12 games under .500 to 20 games under.

In between two road trips in that time they had just three home games, but all were victories against the San Diego Padres.

Those Padres might be the only team in baseball with a worse record, but the Cubs would prefer to not look so closely at the details. They won their final game on the trip and head home knowing they have won there recently.

“With this off day coming we needed to go out with some good self esteem about our team,” said David DeJesus, who had three RBIs out of the No. 3 spot in the lineup Sunday as the Cubs “improved” to 20-40. “We have a tough series ahead of us, but at least we can go off feeling like ‘Yes, we won a game,’ and we have that feeling going into Chicago.”

The Cubs haven’t been great at home compared to other clubs, going three games over .500 at Wrigley Field (12-15), but it is far better than their 8-25 road mark. They play much better at Wrigley than their 0-5 homestand last month against the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox showed.

After Monday's off day, they have three home games against the Detroit Tigers starting Tuesday and three more against the Boston Red Sox beginning Friday. That’s followed by a three-game series across town against the White Sox before a three-game trip to Arizona and then six more at home.

“We feel comfortable there and one of those things that we have to feed off that,” DeJesus said. “Hope we can feed off that after getting this win and go from there.”

Starter Ryan Dempster was the only pitcher to record a victory over the 16 road games, winning Tuesday at Milwaukee and Sunday at Minnesota.

“It will be nice to get home for a nice six games and even the three games against the White Sox you kind of feel like you’re at home,” Dempster said. “We have a lot of games before the break at home, and hopefully we can play some good baseball.

Asked about the demands of playing 16 road games in 21 days with only a three-game home series as a buffer between trips, Dempster preferred to not make a big deal about it.

“No matter where you’re playing, at home or away, you have to continue to go out there and make as many quality pitches as you can, put together as many god at-bats and play as good a defense as you can,” Dempster said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re playing your own park or somewhere else. Unfortunately we didn’t have a very good road trip, but we finished it (Sunday) with a win and that’s what’s important.”

Manager Dale Sveum wasn’t ready to think about the homestand yet, preferring to focus first on Monday’s much-needed off day.

“That was a tough trip with obviously too many loses and a lot of miles covered,” Sveum said.