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Cubs regulars should expect little rest with contenders on tap

Luis Valbuentosses his bafter being called out strikes end seventh during Cubs’ 7-5 loss. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Luis Valbuena tosses his bat after being called out on strikes to end the seventh during the Cubs’ 7-5 loss. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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TODAY

CUBS AT
NATIONALS

The facts: 12:05, Ch. 9, 720-AM.

The starters: Jeff Samardjiza (8-12, 4.03 ERA) vs. Ross Detwiler (8-6, 3.32).

THE REST OF SERIES

Tuesday: 6:05 p.m., CSN, 720-AM. Chris Rusin (0-1, 1.80) vs. Edwin Jackson (8-9, 3.53).

Wednesday: 6:05 p.m., CSN, 720-AM. Chris Volstad (2-9, 6.06) vs. Gio Gonzalez (17-7, 3.10).

Thursday: 6:05 p.m., CSN, 720-AM. Justin Germano (2-5, 6.30) vs. Jordan Zimmerman (9-8, 3.01).

Updated: October 4, 2012 6:20AM



Expanded rosters in ­September and a new rule allowing pitchers to be called up to work in rescheduled doubleheaders has helped the Cubs through stretches of 20 consecutive games and 27 in 28 days.

“We’re keeping our heads above water,’’ manager Dale Sveum said Sunday.

The team begins a 10-game road trip Monday. The Cubs will be facing mostly contending teams the rest of the month, lessening the likelihood of days off for the regulars.

“I’ll give them days off when I think it’s called for and we’re not playing contending teams,’’ Sveum said. “A lot of times you can tell [when a day off is needed], but sometimes you have to keep them in the lineup. And you never think of taking two guys out on the same day.’’

Winds of change

Sveum has learned not to second-guess his lineup as it relates to the weather at Wrigley Field, where things can change hour-to-hour, not just day-to-day.

“You can’t set a lineup ­according to it,’’ he said, noting how some teams can build their roster to suit their field’s playing conditions. “It’s difficult to build a team around the predictability of the wind here.

“I’ve come to find out you don’t do anything with the lineup. It just doesn’t work out. The ­bottom line is to have a lineup that keeps the line moving [batter to batter].’’

But Sveum said the wind can affect how pitchers are used.

“Sometimes you’ll think about who can keep the ball on the ground, but for the most part you have your guys who are going to come in [at points of the game].’’

A starting pitcher who is victimized by wind-blown homers might stay in a game longer if he is otherwise throwing well, Sveum added.

Roster watch

The Cubs added pitcher Miguel Socolovich to the roster. He will become the 28th pitcher used by the team this season when he makes an ­appearance.

The team already has set a franchise record using 27 pitchers this season, ­exceeding the 25 used in 1999 for the previous record. Only the Toronto Blue Jays (32) and San Diego Padres (30) have used more.

The Cubs have used 48 players overall, three shy of the franchise record set in 2000.

Socolovich and Dave Sappelt look to become the 49th and 50th players to ­appear this season.



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