Extra bases

Extra bases

• The Cubs began play on Wednesday 16 games back in the National League Central. It will be tough to make up ground, as the Cardinals, Reds and Pirates rank among the top four teams in baseball. And the Cubs lost their third in a row on Wednesday, a 2-1 decision to Cincinnati.

"Obviously, when you're 16 games out, you're dealing with the teams ahead of you that are the elite in the league," Sveum said. "We haven't been compatible to our division at all. We haven't played well. The pitching and stuff, we're not right there yet, so it's unfortunate.

"We still have 100 games left and guys go out and play their butts off every day, and we'll see what happens. We continue to get good starting pitching, but we have to put six, seven runs up."

The Cubs entered play on Wednesday ranked 13th in the NL in team batting with runners in scoring position (.228), well behind the Cardinals (.341) and Reds (.279), who were 1-2 in the rankings.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.