7/8 Three in a row

If the Cubs win Friday, they have a chance to finish the first half with a three-game win streak, something that has eluded the team. If they lose, then they will finish the first half without one.

“I’d like to win four,” Mike Quade quipped before Friday’s game. “You’d like to come in here and sweep.”

He’s not obsessed with winning three in a row.

“Playing well is what we’re trying to do here,” Quade said. “As we’ve said, half-kiddingly, we can win two and lose one for the rest of the year and that will be a nice finish and never win three in a row. You can make a lot of money in this game going 2-1, 2-1, 2-1. But you can’t put the cart before the horse. We’ve got to play good baseball, we’ve got to get consistent pitching, we’ve got to do things consistently for that to happen. It’s not going to happen the other way around.”

The Cubs have used 10 different starting pitchers, including Rodrigo Lopez, who took the mound Friday in the series opener against the Pirates.

“The facts don’t lie — we’ve struggled in the four, five hole [in the rotation] and [Randy] Wells hasn’t come back as sharp as we expected,” Quade said. “We’ve had a few people miss starts. I think there’s plenty of reason for the inconsistency.”

— Carrie Muskat

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