James Russell of the Chicago Cubs reacts after giving up a two RBI double in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 2, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

James Russell's Start A Failure For Fourth Straight Time; Cubs Lose

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Cubs Lose To Dodgers 5-2; Alfonso Soriano Homers Again

For the first couple of innings, the CubsJames Russell managed to hang with the DodgersClayton Kershaw in a close 2-1 game.

But Russell just doesn’t have the stamina to go long into games, and he proved it again Monday night, giving up three runs in the fifth inning before being removed; the Cubs scored just one more run, on Alfonso Soriano’s major league leading 11th home run of the season in the seventh inning, and the Cubs lost for the fourth time in a game Russell started, 5-2 in Los Angeles.

Soriano’s home run was the seventh he had hit leading off an inning and ninth with no one on base; he’s driven in only 10 other runs besides the 11 he’s scored himself on the HR and has only 12 singles this year (along with four doubles).

The Cubs bullpen did another good job of shutting the door after Russell’s departure, allowing just one hit in 3.1 innings, but the Cubs could get no closer.

The two teams play again tonight in Los Angeles at 9:10 p.m. CDT; the game will be televised on WGN.

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Cubs Send Reliever Russell To Start, Once Again, Against Dodgers

The Cubs have been searching for replacements for Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner in their starting rotation ever since those two went down with injuries with less than a week gone in the 2011 season.

Casey Coleman did all right for a while, but overall he's been a disappointment. And James Russell, who is better suited for relief, has been... bad. In 9.2 innings, he's given up 16 hits and four walks and six home runs. That, in most rotations, would get you sent to the minors.

The Cubs say they don't really have any other options, so Russell will be sent out to slaughter face the Los Angeles Dodgers tonight. That has prompted Dodgers manager Don Mattingly to start Marcus Thames in left field. Thames has started only six games so far this year, but he has exhibited good pop in his career against lefthanders.

That doesn't bode well for the Cubs. Fortunately, they don't need a fifth starter again until May 14, by which time Doug Davis (or maybe Todd Wellemeyer) will be healthy enough and ready to go.

If you want to watch the potential carnage, it'll be on CSN Chicago at 9 p.m. CDT.

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