Pirates Sweep Cubs

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By Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune reporter7:43 p.m. CDT, May 23, 2013

PITTSBURGH — Manager Dale Sveum had one word Thursday morning for the statistical oddity of the Cubs’ start.

“Mind-boggling,” he said.

Sveum was scratching his head over what he called some “strange” stats, including a minus-7 run differential after a 4-2 loss to the Pirates. The Giants entered the day tied for first in the NL West with a run differential of plus-4.

“Just certain things you can’t explain,” Sveum said, “other than just not being able to put games away and (not) hitting with men in scoring position and getting that run in, getting a big inning here and there. We’re just snakebit on that. We’re not getting that kind of stuff done.”

Edwin Jackson went three innings Thursday before a 1-hour, 47-minute rain delay ended his afternoon. He allowed four runs on six hits in the first two innings, putting the Cubs in a quick hole again.

After scoring three runs in the second inning of the series opener, the Cubs scored only three the rest of the series.

Left out: Sveum said he’s “thinking about” changing his starting lineup against left-handers “just to see what happens.” The Cubs are 4-10 against lefties.

That could mean a benching for Scott Hairston, who is hitting .089 against southpaws. Catcher Welington Castillo is hitting .214 against lefties, while switch hitter Dioner Navarro is 4-for-9 in limited play.

Barney watch: Darwin Barney was batting .154 before a recent hot spell hiked his average to .220.

“I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t hurt your confidence,” he said of his slump. “I went through it a little in 2011, but everything is magnified at the beginning of the season.

“Hopefully you come out of it. I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent relieved right now. There’s still a lot of work to do, and obviously I’m not where I want to be.”

Barney said Sveum and general manager Jed Hoyer helped by telling him his job was safe.

“The way they’ve instilled confidence in me,” he said, “knowing that I really have nothing to worry about in the sense that if I don’t get a hit the next game, I’m going to be out of here or traded or sent down or something, that helps.”

Draft watch: Cubs scouting director Jason McLeod looked at BYU center fielder Jacob Hannemann last week. Hannemann, batting .342 with 13 stolen bases in 14 attempts, was selected in the 48th round of the 2010 draft by the Royals. He’s projected as a second- to fourth-round pick.

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