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CIN@CHC: Sveum discusses 9-4 loss, Byrd's struggles

Some good weather and some subsequent good hitting could help the Cubs in Saturday's middle game of three against the Reds at Wrigley Field this weekend.

Chicago has scored just 14 runs during its six-game losing streak, and the Cubs are last in the Majors with just five home runs.

There's always a bit of luck involved with these things: Even when the Cubs are hitting the ball hard, the ball's not getting out of the park or finding the holes. Marlon Byrd is hitting .070 after going 0-for-3 on Friday.

"He's played a great center field all season long. He really has," manager Dale Sveum said. "Today he hit three balls hard. ... Like I said earlier, it looks like he's swinging the bat better. He's going to keep going out there. He's been an asset to us in center field.

"I don't know if you ever get down when you're swinging the bat good and not getting anything to show for it. You know you're swinging the bat good and getting good at-bats and putting good swings on the ball. I think it's more important that they understand that once the weather warms up and we get in a little better hitters' park than what we've been dealing with, a lot of those things turn out for the better."

Southpaw Paul Maholm will start for the Cubs, and he's been consistent this season: six runs on six hits over four innings in both of his 2012 starts. Maholm has only faced National League Central opponents, throwing against Milwaukee and St. Louis.

The Reds, who will have right-hander Mike Leake on the mound, have won two in a row. The weather in Chicago on Friday was in the low 40s, and it's supposed to get a boost to the mid-50s on Saturday. It's not only the Cubs who would be helped by a little warmth.

"Usually runs are harder to come by because you don't depend on the long ball, unless you're probably a left-handed hitter," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "With that wind blowing left to right, that cross wind is actually worse sometimes than the wind blowing in your face. Because you can cut the wind blowing in your face if you keep it low. But that cross wind, man, that'll just eat up every ball that you hit out there."

Leake's last outing against Washington wasn't stellar -- 6 1/3 innings, five runs -- but he held St. Louis to three runs in six innings in his first start of 2012.

Reds: Phillips sits in cold weather
Brandon Phillips, who's still not 100 percent after a strained left hamstring injury, did not play Friday against the Cubs.

"With this weather like it is and this wind blowing, that tightens your hamstrings up, big time," Baker said. "If you have one long inning, or with the wet conditions you slip on the infield or the wet grass or going back on the ball ... it's best for him."

Cubs: Wood goes on DL
Right-hander Kerry Wood went on the 15-day disabled list on Friday because of right shoulder fatigue.

Wood had not pitched since a week ago Friday, and he received a cortisone shot in his shoulder on Wednesday. He was slated to be the Cubs' primary setup man to closer Carlos Marmol this season but had thrown just 2 1/3 innings over four appearances and has an 11.57 ERA.

Sveum said the club is trying to be cautious.

"Part of the reason we wanted to DL him is because we don't want this to carry on," Sveum said. "We want him to get strong for the rest of the season."

Worth noting
The Reds won their 10,000th game in franchise history Friday, 9-4. Comments