Tag Archive | "Derrek Lee"

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Cubs Fun Fact of the Day — Cubs Defense Getting Better

Posted on 20 May 2010 by Lou

A week ago, the Chicago Cubs had committed at least 1 error in 7 straight games.  Since last Friday’s loss against the Pirates at Wrigley Field, however, the Cubs have committed just 1 total error in those 7 games.  That is a major improvement for a club that has already committed 32 errors on the season – good for a .979 fielding percentage.

The one glaring problem, Starlin Castro is 2nd on the team in errors with 5, just 1 behind 3rd baseman Aramis Ramirez.  Castro was supposed to provide stellar defense for the middle of the Cubs defense, but so far, it has been a bit suspect.  Sure 3 of those errors came in his 1st game in front of the home town fans at Wrigley Field, but we need him to remember about the routine plays and not just the spectacular ones.  Hopefully as he gets more comfortable in his new surroundings at the major league level we’ll see more consistency in his defense.

Kudos to Ryan Theriot who hasn’t skipped a beat despite moving over to 2nd base to make room for Castro at shortstop.  Theriot has just 3 errors in 153 chances good for a .980 fielding percentage.

Derrek Lee is having another solid year – just 1 error in 335 chances, good for a .997 fielding percentage.

Lastly, let’s hear it for catchers Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill – not one single error during the 1st 42 games of the season – pretty damn impressive.

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Oh What Might Have Been — 5-4 Loss to Phillies Ends Win Streak at 4

Posted on 20 May 2010 by Lou

It was almost a perfect end to a 2-game road trip in Philly, but then the Cubs woes with runners on 3rd base and less than 2 outs re-surfaced as the Cubs squandered a golden scoring opportunity against Jose Contreras in the top of the 9th inning.  The Cubs trailed most of the day today, but kept battling back to tie the game up on 2 different occasions.  But it wasn’t meant to be despite getting runners on 1st and 3rd with nobody out against Contreras (who is subbing for injured closer Brad Lidge) in the 9th inning.  With the game tied at 4, Alfonso Soriano had a GREAT at-bat, fouling off pitch after pitch on a 3-2 count to eventually work a walk.  Mike Fontenot then singled up the middle sending Soriano hustling to 3rd base.  1st and 3rd, nobody out — easy run, right?  Not for this Cubs team.  Contreras made Starlin Castro look silly, striking him out with ease.  Aramis Ramirez then worked the count full after falling behind early, but swung at a pitch that my 3-year old would have known not to swing at.  The pitch was at least 2 feet wide of the plate and the Phillies catcher had to lunge to make sure it wasn’t a wild pitch, but Ramirez somehow tried to swing at the pitch at the last second.  Even with a 10 foot bat in his hands he probably would have missed it.  Then it was Geovany Soto’s turn to make Contreras look good.  He hit a lazy foul pop up that Ryan Howard snared for the final out, and instead of talking about another great come-from-behind win, we’re talking about how this team seems to lay an egg whenever they get a good scoring chance.  It is so painful.

This is an EXCELLENT Phillies team with an amazingly deep offensive lineup, so I’ll give the Cubs for being in both games of the series.  Holding the Phils to just 6 runs in 2 home games at the sand lot that is Citizens Bank Ballpark is a feat in and of itself.  But when you get chances like this, good teams win.  The Cubs are clearly just an average team at best.  The Cubs made it interesting.  After falling behind in the 1st inning on a Chase Utley home run, the Cubs answered with a Starlin Castro RBI single that scored Soriano in the 5th inning.  Ryan Dempster couldn’t fully get out of a 2-out jam in the 6th inning and eventually served up Jimmy Rollins 3-run jack to deep right field that gave the Phillies a 4-1 lead.  The Cubs could have mailed it in, but Derrek Lee immediately answered with a solo home run to lead off the 7th inning.  Then with only 1 out, the Cubs loaded the bases with a walk and 2 singles, but once again, the Cubs failed to take full advantage of the scoring opportunity.  Sure Tyler Colvin drove in a run with a sac fly, but someone needs to come through with a hit to break the game open in that situation.  Xavier Nady who has been so hot as a pinch-hitter lunged at the 1st pitch he saw, and just like that, the threat was over again.  Kosuke Fukudome forced the 4-4 tie with his lead-off solo home run to right field in the top of the 8th inning.  But then John Grabow had another poor outing and gave the lead right back to the Phillies.  He walked 2 of the 1st three batters that he faced and gave up Raul Ibanez’s game-winning single to right.  Fukudome did his best to throw out Utley at home, but his throw was just off the line towards the 1st base line and Utley slid in ahead of Koyie Hill’s tag.

Then it was time for disappointment in the 9th.

Ryan Dempster pitched well, but not well enough.  I feel like I say that for just about every start he has made during the last month. It’s gotta be frustrating for him being 2-5 with a 1.10 WHIP and a 3.73.  At the same time, he has already given up 8 home runs this year in 62+ innings pitched – that is simply too many.  If he cuts that home run number in half, Dempster is 5-2 and the Cubs are only 3 games out of 1st place in the NL Central.

Today’s loss was that much more painful given the near-perfect game that the Cubs played on Wednesday night in Philly.  Tom Gorzelanny threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings (just 3 hits and 2 walks) in the 4-1 win, but left after getting hit with a line drive.  The Cubs took an early 2-0 lead on an RBI single by Castro in the 3rd inning and an RBI single by Jeff Baker in the 7th inning.  John Grabow gave up a run in the 8th inning, but Carlos Zambrano saved the day by getting Jayson Werth to ground out on a sensational play by Castro to end the threat with the tying run on 2nd base.  Then Xavier Nady came through with another HUGE pinch-hit single that gave the Cubs 2 insurance runs with the bases loaded out 2 outs in the 9th inning.  That made the save chance for Carlos Marmol a little easier in the bottom of the inning.  Although Marmol walked Ibanez and hit Carlos Ruiz with a pitch, he struck out Ross Gload and Shane Victorino to pick up his 7th save of the season.

I know we should be happy that the Cubs split with the Phillies, but the same trends that keep occurring just don’t make me feel confident about this team.  Poor clutch hitting is killing this team and preventing the club from taking bigger leads or any leads at all.  If the Cubs took advantage of some of these scoring chances, that would take a lot of heat off of the pitching staff.  And while the starters have been good, they must feel like they have to pitch a perfect game in order to get a win.  The close games is taking its toll on a young bullpen that has under-performed.  If Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol could pitch every day, it would be a different story.  But since they can’t, Manager Lou Pinella has to go to some of his other options.  Grabow is not getting it done and he has been a huge factor in the bullpen’s struggles.  After the last 2 days, Grabow now has 3 losses with a 2.12 WHIP and an 8.44 ERA.  If he wasn’t a veteran getting paid big bucks for a set-up man, he would have been sent down to Triple-A Iowa 2 weeks ago.

Ugghhh – I could go on and on.  Let’s hope the Cubs can nip this losing streak in the bud and get things going again in Texas over the weekend.  It won’t be easy, but it should be nice to be able to put Soriano in the DH spot and get a better defensive team out there with Tyler Colvin in the lineup for 3 straight days in left.  Can’t wait…

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Cubs Salvage Weekend Series with 4-3 Come-From-Behind Win Over Pirates @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 17 May 2010 by Lou

For 7 innings, it looked like it was going to be another frustrating, disappointing loss for the Cubs on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs trailed the Pirates 3-1 and despite numerous scoring chances they could never seem to come through with the clutch hit – as had happened so many times this season.  It all turned around in the bottom of the 7th inning after a lead-off walk to Mike Fontenot.  After reliever Evan Meek quickly recorded 2 outs on fly balls by Geovany Soto and Tyler Colvin, the Cubs finally got the clutch hitting they so desperately needed.  Kosuke Fukudome single to right sending Fontenot scampering to 3rd base.  Meek then threw a wild pitch allowing Fontenot to score and Fukudome to move to 2nd and into scoring position.  Starlin Castro kept the inning alive as he hustled to 1st base safely after Ronny Cedeno’s fielding error. Derrek Lee – who had failed in this situation countless times before this season – finally delivered a hit that plated Fukudome with the tying run.

The Cubs then took full advantage in the bottom of the 8th inning.  Alfonso Soriano singled and stole 2nd base with 2 outs to get into scoring position (he was even able to advance to 3rd base on the wild throw).  The Pirates then walked Geovany Soto to force the Cubs to use a pinch-hitter.  Xavier Nady was 0 for 9 as a pinch-hitter since July 2008, but he delivered the game winning single that scored Soriano with the winning run.

Kudos to the Cubs pitchers too.  Ted Lilly hung in there after giving up 3 runs in the 2nd inning.  He ended up going 7 innings, allowing just those 3 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks.  It wasn’t his best game, but he did what he had to do to give his club a shot at the end.  Sean Marshall delivered again with another scoreless inning of relief.  His 0.87 WHIP and 2.45 ERA are simply amazing.  And then Carlos Marmol came through with one of the biggest saves of his career – seriously.  Just think if he had gotten into trouble in the 9th inning.  The Cubs offense finally came through with 3 runs to take the lead at the end of the game.  It would have been the perfect time for the Cubs bullpen to do something wrong to blow the game once again.  But Marmol did the exact opposite – throwing a perfect inning with 2 K’s.

Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t think that this is going to send the Cubs on a 10-game winning streak.  They still are too inconsistent at this point in the season to get my hopes up too much.  But this NL Central division is up for grabs.  No one is going to run away with this.  The Reds are now in 1st place, and the Cubs are still just 5.5 games out of the division lead.  Anything is possible – they just need to hang in there and stay as positive as possible.  It’s not easy, but you never know.  As Manager Lou Pinella said — “I’d like to see people get hot and stay hot and win games, and everything will take care of itself.  I wouldn’t be getting asked these questions day in and day out, OK?  And having to make excuses and everything else, OK?  So, if we start doing the things that we’re capable of doing, I won’t have to answer these questions all the time…If the talent that we had was playing up to [expectations], I’d tell you I didn’t think it would happen.  We’re confident that we’ll get it going but we’ve got to score more runs consistently and we’ve got to keep [opponents] from scoring, especially late, because you can’t come back from those things… Everybody’s trying.  Nobody’s going through the motions.  It’s just a question of being more consistent.  Once we do that, we’ll win more baseball games.  And then everybody will be happy.  The media will be happy.  The manager will be happy.  Tghe players will be happy.  The fans will be happy.”

Amen to that…

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Cubs Salvage Series with 4-3 Win over Marlins

Posted on 13 May 2010 by Lou

It wasn’t pretty once again, but at least this time the Cubs came out on top with a 4-3 win over the Florida Marlins at Wrigley Field on Wednesday afternoon to avoid the sweep.  Carlos Silva notched another quality start pitching into the 7th inning and earning hie 4th win of the season without a loss.  Although he did give up 7 hits and 2 walks, he managed to stay out of too much trouble allowing just a total of 2 ER.  He was helped by 2 unassisted double plays turned by shortstop Starlin Castro in each of the 1st 2 innings.  Sean Marshall helped Silva get out of a jam in the 7th inning by inducing an inning-ending double play to preserve the 4-2 lead.  Carlos Zambrano —  see our Cubs Fun (Sad) Fact of the Day today — had trouble staying out of trouble in the 8th inning.  After retiring the 1st 2 batters he faced, Big Z walked Jorge Cantu and then gave up a single to Dan Uggla.  That prompted Manager Lou Pinella to pull Zambrano for his closer Carlos Marmol who quickly disposed of pinch-hitter John Baker with a strikeout to end the threat.  Marmol allowed a run in the 9th inning to make things interesting, but was able to strike out Hanley Ramirez with runners on 1st and 2nd to pick up the save for the Cubs.  It was Marmol’s 5th save in 6 tries this season.

The Cubs put runners on base for a 3rd straight game with 8 hits and 4 walks.  But they only scored 4 runs, failing to come through with clutch hits on several occasions.  Mike Fontenot had a 2-RBI double in the 2nd inning and Marlon Byrd had an RBI double in the 5th inning to put the Cubs head for good.

Derrek Lee seems to have responded to Pinella’s move to the 4th spot.  Lee had 2 doubles in Tuesday night’s loss and 2 more singles in Wednesday’s win.  Castro keeps swinging a hot bat too – adding 2 more singles to increase his batting average to .364.

Tom Gorzelanny kicks things off for the Cubs against his former team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  After sweeping the Cubs in Pittsburgh last week, the Pirates have dropped 5 of their last 6 games and haven’t scored a single run in their last 2 games.  Let’s hope their struggles keep up against the Cubs this weekend at Wrigley.  It will be a MAJOR disappointment for the Cubs if they can’t win this series this weekend…

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Cubs Fun (Sad) Fact of the Day – Derrek Lee & Aramis Ramirez Killing Cubs Offense

Posted on 12 May 2010 by Lou

Not sure if you caught onto the theme for this week.  Although the facts that I’m providing are pretty damn interesting, they are also pretty “sad” if you’re a Cubs fan.  Seeing as how the Cubs have dropped 7 of their last 8 games, I figured this would be a good theme for the week for a “sad” Cubs team.

Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez have been killing the Cubs with limited offensive output in the middle of the lineup.  With 5 starters hitting over .300 – Kosuke Fukudome, Ryan Theriot, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and now Starlin Castro – it is amazing that this team has not won more games.  Then you look at Lee’s and Ramirez’s horrid numbers and you can see why the Cubs have struggled so much early in the season.  When you don’t get consistent production out of your #3 and # 4 hitters, your not going to win a lot of games.

Derrek Lee — .220 batting average with a .333 on-base percentage.  Lee only has 28 hits in 127 at-bats and he only has 4 doubles and 4 home runs with 16 RBI’s.  Throw in 28 K’s and it has been a horrible start to the season for Lee.  Since April 16th, he has hit only 1 home run.

Aramis Ramirez — .159 batting average with a .227 on-base percentage.  Ouch!  If you thought Lee’s numbers were bad, check out these stats – Ramirez only has 20 hits in 126 at-bats and he only has 3 doubles and 3 home runs with 15 RBI’s.  Throw in 31 K’s and it has been an even worse start for Ramirez than Lee.  Ramirez’s last homer came on tax day – April 15th.

Manager Lou Pinella has tried to juggle things around, moving Lee down to 4 and Ramirez down to 5th and 6th in the order.  But nothing seems to be working for either player.  Let’s hope things turn around soon.  The Cubs have the 2nd to worst record in the National League (at 14-20) and they already trail the 1st place Cardinals by 6 1/2 games in the NL Central race.  I know it’s only May 12th, but things can get out of hand pretty quickly – you’d hate to be 10+ games out of 1st place by the end of May, so unless Lee and Ramirez both turn it around, it looks like that’s the direction this team is headed in in 2010.

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Different Day, Same Old Story as Cubs Lose Again…

Posted on 12 May 2010 by Lou

It was a different day on the calendar for the Cubs, but the results were the same – another close loss as the Cubs offense could not deliver any clutch hits.  Randy Wells was the tough-luck loser this time around as the Cubs fell to the Marlins for a 2nd straight night, this time by just 1 run.

Let’s look at the numbers:

The Cubs have lost 7 of their last 8 games.  In 1 of the losses, the Cubs scored just 1 run.  In 5 of the losses, the Cubs managed to score 2 runs.  And in the 7th loss, the Cubs broke out and scored a whopping 3 runs.  What is going on with this team.  Right now, the Cubs have 5 starters who are hitting above the .300 mark — Ryan Theriot, Kosuke Fukudome, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Starlin Castro.  But no one ever seems to come through with the clutch hit that breaks a game open.  The last time that happened was in the Cubs 14-7 win over the Reds 5 days ago when the rookie Castro had 2 big hits – a 3-run HR and a 3-run triple – to spark the win.  What makes it worse, the Cubs have been getting good pitching, but it seems like the starters and relievers have to be perfect or else the team will lose.  In the 7 losses, 2 have come by 1 run and 3 have come by just 2 runs.  That means a play here or a bounce that goes another way could result in a Cubs win instead of a Cubs loss.

But back to last night’s debacle.  Although Randy Wells served up early home runs to Cody Ross and Gaby Sanchez that gave the Marlins a 3-0 lead by the end of the 3rd inning, he rallied to keep his club in the game.  He ended up pitching 8 solid innings (save for the 2 home runs) and allowed just 1 walk and 1 hit from the 4th through the 8th innings.  He racked up 8 K’s and actually lowered his WHIP to 1.33 and his ERA to 4.57.

But for the 2nd straight night, the Cubs racked up more hits than the Marlins but couldn’t push across more runs as the Cubs didn’t score until the 6th inning.  Derrek Lee finally “broke out” with 2 doubles which drove in the Cubs first run in the 6th.  Marlon Byrd didn’t get a hit, but he did drive in the Cubs 2nd run in the 8th inning to pull the Cubs within 1 run of the lead.  Starlin Castro had 2 more hits in the loss and is still hitting .333.

Carlos Silva takes the bump today in the series finale hoping that he can do enough to help avoid a series sweep at the hands of the Marlins.

I’m at a loss right now.  I feel like I’ve written this type of post a thousand times already this year.  Couple that with the thousand times I wrote this similar post last year, and I’m starting to get a little sick of it.  Some teams know how to win.  Other teams don’t.  Until this team gets some confidence to know that they can win close games, we’re going to have a lot of these frustrating 1 and 2 run losses this year as the Cardinals continue to expand their lead in the NL Central.  Let’s just hope that Marlon Byrd and Castro keep up their good seasons so that we have something to cheer about…

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Cubs Fun Fact of the Day — Kosuke Fukudome — Can he Keep it Up?

Posted on 04 May 2010 by Lou

Following up yesterday’s Alfonso Soriano facts/stats with a Kosuke Fukudome sighting seemed like the appropriate thing to do.  Back in 2008 (Fukudome’s 1st year in the United States with the Cubs), he started off hot by hitting a game-tying 3-run home run in the 9th inning against the Brewers on Opening Day and staying hot all through the month of April with a batting average over .300.  But by the end of the season, Fukudome had a batting average of only .257 hitting just 10 home runs and driving in 58 RBI’s.  2009 brought a similar stat line — .259 batting average, 11 HR’s, 54 RBI’s.  Sure his on-base percentage was solid – .359 and .375, respectively, but was he really worth $12 million a year for 4 years?

Well we’re seeing the same hot start for Kosuke in 2010, but I must admit, he seems a lot more relaxed and confident at the plate.  Is it having 2 years under his belt in the U.S.? Is it something new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo noticed in his swing and Kosuke’s willingness to listen to his American coaches now?  Whatever it is, I have been seriously impressed with the results.  Kosuke already has 5 HR’s and 17 RBI’s in the 2-hole.  He has a .342 batting average and a .438 on-base percentage.  Most importantly, he already has 14 walks and just 11 K’s in 73 at-bats – that is an excellent ratio.  He seems a lot more patient at the plate and is really making pitchers work the count so that he sees a lot more pitches.  That makes the pitcher throw more pitches so you can get to the bullpen earlier, and it helps the sluggers behind him – Derrek Lee, Marlon Byrd, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano – see more pitches as they prepare for their at-bats.  It becomes a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Now don’t get me wrong, if he ends up hitting in the .250’s with similar offensive output as in his 1st 2 major league seasons, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.  But I’m really seeing a different Fukudome this year and believe he has a great shot at sustaining this output for the entire season.  Maybe not 30 HR’s and 100 RBI’s, but definitely close to 20 HR’s and 75 RBI’s with a lot of hits.  Guess we’ll have to wait and see – but I hope Kosuke keeps it up!

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Cubs Get Back in Win Column with 11-5 Drubbing of DBacks

Posted on 30 April 2010 by Lou

The Cubs bats finally came to life in their 11-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon.

It looked like it might be another long day as the Cubs fell behind 4-1 through 4 1/2 innings, but the Cubs scored in each of the 4th through 8th innings and finally broke it open with Alfonso Soriano’s 3-run homer in the 6th inning that gave the Cubs their 1st lead of the game at 6-4.  Although Chris Snyder’s leadoff home run off of Randy Wells cut the lead back to 1 run in the 7th inning, the Cubs added 3 insurance runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Derrek Lee and on bases loaded walks to Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano.  The Cubs finally had their first back-to-back homer game as well when Geovany Soto and Marlon Byrd went back-to-back in the 8th inning.  All in all it was a good showing from the northsiders who desperately needed a win after 2 close losses to the Nats and a blowout loss by Ted Lilly yesterday.  Kosuke Fukudome also hit a home run for the Cubs and now leads the team with 5 long balls (and a solid .344 batting average).

Randy Wells improved to 3-0 despite giving up 5 ER on 8 hits in 6 innings pitched.  He did however have 8 strikeouts with no walks.  John Grabow, Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Marmol each worked scoreless innings of relief to preserve the win.

Go Cubs!  Let’s make it 2 in a row when Carlos Silva takes on Dan Haren at Wrigley Field on Saturday afternoon at 12:05…

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Cubs Crush Brewers 12-2; Complete 3-Game Sweep at Miller Park

Posted on 25 April 2010 by Lou

WOW – what a turn of events.  The Cubs were reeling after dropping 5 of 7 games to the lowly Astros and Mets.  But they didn’t give up and completed an impressive 3-game weekend sweep over the Brewers at Miller Park with a 12-2 rout on Sunday.  The Cubs scored 12 runs and belted out 18 hits, including home runs by Kosuke Fukudome, Derrek Lee, Tyler Colvin and Geovany Soto.  Fukudome and Colvin each had 3 hits apiece, while Ryan Theriot had 5 hits and 3 RBI’s and now has his average up to .329 after a slow start to the season.  Theriot was even briefly demoted form the lead-off spot during the series against the Mets in New York.

Randy Weels did a great job on the mound – 7 innings, 2 ER on 7 hits and no walks, with 6 K’s.  Another great start from the dependable Wells.

The Cubs next face the resurgent Nationals in a 3-game set this week at Wrigley Field.  This isn’t your old Nats team, however, as the Nats have already won 11 games this season – 2 more than the Cubs.  Let’s keep the good times rolling on Monday night with Carlos Silva on the bump…

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Cubs Anemic Offense Leads to 4-0 Shutout Loss to Mets @ CITI Field in New York

Posted on 21 April 2010 by Lou

So much for righting the ship against the lowly New York Mets – Carlos Zambrano took the loss in the Cubs 4-0 loss against the Mets on Tuesday night.  But this wasn’t all Zambrano’s fault.  Sure, he had trouble with his control early on.  And his walk to the pitcher with 2 outs in the bottom of the 2nd inning kept the inning alive for the next batter – Jose Reyes – to stroke a 2-run triple to left center field to give the Mets the early lead.  But Big Z found a way to work 6 strong innings, giving up just those 2 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks.  He racked up 9 K’s.  It was the Cubs 4th quality start in the last 6 games, but the Cubs have a 1-5 record during that stretch. During the team’s current 4-game losing streak, they have scored just 6 total runs.  That is completely unacceptable, especially when you are playing the worst team in the NL Central – the Astros – and the worst team in the NL East – the Mets.

Pretty much every Cubs batter is in a funk, but no one is struggling more than clean-up hitter Aramis Ramirez.  Ramirez is hitting .145 with a .213 on-base percentage.  He leads the team with 19 strikeouts in just 14 games.  Ouch.  Ramirez is frustrated with his effort thus far — “I’m not seeing the ball good right now.  I’m swinging at too many bad pitches… I just have to stay focused and get some better pitches to hit… I'[m trying to do too much and trying to hit a four-run home run with nobody on base… I haven’t gotten the job done.  No excuses.  I’m 100 percent.  I just have to keep working and try to get out of it.”

Manager Lou Pinella is also frustrated as even his tinkering with the batting order each night in New York hasn’t worked — “I don’t think anybody is too pleased… We had chances.  We just don’t seem to get base hits with men on base or men in scoring position.”

I feel like I am writing a bunch of similar posts to the ones I wrote during the Cubs 2009 atrocious season.  See  my thoughts on how good the Cubs starting pitching was in 2009 and how well the pitching staff did down the stretch despite limited run support.  My biggest fear is that the Cubs hitters get on track only to have the starting pitching go down the drain.  Guess we have to be patient – it is only April 21st, but if the Cubs continue to under-perform with the highest payroll in the National League, look for the Ricketts Family to make some changes (hear that Jim Hendry, Lou Pinella?) this off-season.

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