Series Sweep of D'Backs Leaves Chicago Cubs Tied for First in NL Central

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Series Sweep of D'Backs Leaves Chicago Cubs Tied for First in NL Central

With the Diamondbacks coming back to Wrigley Field for the first time since the 2007 Division Series, Cubs fans were hoping their favorite team could earn some revenge against the team that knocked the Cubs out of the playoffs last season. 

The Cubs did just that, sweeping the Diamondbacks and bolting themselves back into the division race by tying the Cardinals for the best record in the divison at 22-15. 

Some of the Cubs batters woke up in this series by contributing to the effort, and the Cubs got good pitching performances from some unlikely suspects.

Alfonso Soriano's bat looks to be starting to heat up with four hits in the second game and an intentional walk in the eighth inning of game three.  Cubs fans are hoping he is turning things around. 

Soriano's batting average is finally over the Mendoza Line after a miserable start to the season.  Soriano is starting to see the ball better after getting two bloop singles and two doubles in yesterday's game. 

However good Soriano looks at the plate, he still doesn't look 100 percent on the base paths.  When coming around third base to score on Sunday, Soriano seemed to be favoring his right leg and not running at full speed. 

This is a concern for Cubs fans and management, as they need him to be healthy for the rest of the season, as they will rely on him to anchor the top half of the lineup.

Daryle Ward also is turning himself around as a pinch hitter, coming up with two big hits in games two and three of the series. 

Ward raised his average from .174 to .208 in this series.  Ward has a career .265 average.  Ward can also be used as a first baseman to spell Derrek Lee if needed, but he will see most of his action off the bench.

Scott Eyre made his first appearance of the season in game two coming in for relief.  Eyre will be a crucial lefthander out of the bullpen for the Cubs during the rest of the season.  He complements Bob Howry as the second veteran in a young bullpen that features Carlos Marmol and newfound closer Kerry Wood.

Sean Gallagher made an emergency start today for the Cubs in place of Carlos Zambrano, who was scratched because of the bad weather.  Gallagher went four strong innings, giving up one run and striking out seven.  Gallagher may have put his name in the running for the fifth starter spot that is still up for grabs.

Ted Lilly also made another strong start, and he seems to be turning his season around. 

Ryan Dempster has proven to be a diamond in the rough kind of starter for the Cubs this season.  He and Zambrano have been the two staples in the Cubs rotation early this season.  Now with Lilly picking up his game, the Cubs have three anchors in their rotation.

The Cubs are still looking for a fifth starter.  Jon Lieber, Gallagher, Sean Marshall, and Rich Hill are all in the running for the fifth starter position.

The Cubs will stay at home this week and face the Padres for four games beginning on Monday.  Zambrano will take his turn in the rotation on Monday when he is opposed by Randy Wolf.  After the Padres leave town, the Cubs will take on the Pittsburgh Pirates for three and then head back on the road.

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