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Friday, May 05, 2006


Hate to say I told you so but the Cubs are struggling mightily to score runs. It didn't take a rocket scientist to see that everything would have to go right for this team to compete offensively. Everything has not gone right with Derrek Lee being out for two months (although Will Carroll is optimistic that he'll be back sooner because technically he did not break his wrist) and Aramis Ramirez fighting a slump.

Over the last six games the Cubs are 1-5 and have scored a grand total of 5 runs. They've been shut out three times and been outscored 45-5 over that span. They've now fallen back to 14-13

Juan Pierre has an OBP of .313, Aramis Ramirez is sitting at .207/.310/.391, Jacque Jones is at .239/.286/.451 and the combination of Neifi Perez and Jerry Hairston has an OBP of around .240 with all of three walks. As a team the Cubs are last in the league in runs scored (112 or 4.15 per game) and second to last in homeruns (21) ahead of only the Padres (19).

On the plus side both rookies, Ronny Cedeno and Matt Murton are hitting well along with Todd Walker. An historic start from Greg Maddux has also compensated for the struggles of Carlos Zambrano. We can only hope that averaging 109 pitches per start from ages 22 to 24 and the WBC aren't the culprits.

The underlying problem was masked early on because the Cubs were hitting so well with runners in scoring position and leading the league in that department for more than half the first month. Over the last week, however, their luck has turned with a vengence and despite getting some runners on (they left 11 on base in last night's shutout loss) they're not getting the hits to fall when they need them. They now sit 5th in the league in OPS with runners in scoring position at 812 but have driven in only 93 runs in those scenarios (11th in the league) largely because they have a 700 OPS overall which is 14th in the NL.

Although they're not as bad as they've been over the last week, I'm afraid the overall result is pretty much what we're going to see. Before the season several folks predicted around 84 wins for this team and right now that's looking pretty good.

So are the Cubs struggling? "Yes", in the last week but "No" overall.

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