The White Sox went for a spark awhile back when they called up highly touted prospect Gordon Beckham and plugged him right in.
The Cubs don't have that option, so they went with Option 2 this morning by firing hitting coach Gerald Perry and replacing him with Von Joshua. The Cubs have done a complete 180 from last year with their offense. In '08, they were at or near the top in all the key offensive categories. They enter today 13th in batting average, 14th in runs, 12th in OBP, 10th in slugging and 10th in walks. Lou says part of that is other teams' advance scouts are telling their clubs they don't have to pitch the Cubs carefully because they're struggling.
We got an inkling of things this morning when Gerald was called off the field about 11 a.m. Jim Hendry came back from the College World Series to make the announcement. Von Joshua will be here for Tuesday's game against the White Sox, for whom he was a hitting coach.
Now onto the part about "pulling a Beckham." Part of the Cubs not being able to do that is because of their chronic failure to produce position players. I suppose if Tyler Colvin wasn't coming off elbow surgery, you could have called him up. But where would he have played? And does he have the plate discipline? You've got half the national debt tied up in left and right with Soriano and Bradley, and D-Lee is not coming off of first base. So forget Colvin.
The other guy is third baseman Josh Vitters. The Cubs certainly have a need there, but in no way are they going to rush Vitters up from Peoria.
I suppose the closest thing you could have here is just to bring up Jake Fox from Iowa again, put him at third, let him rake and hold your breath with how he does in the field. But I guess the Cubs don't feel that way.
I asked Lou about moving Soriano down in the lineup, and he was clearly uncomfortable. He said the Cubs have won two divisions with Soriano. "Let's hope he gets hot," was the best Lou could offer.
Soriano is 14-for-91 (.154) in his last 21 games. Why not move him to sixth or seventh and let Theriot lead off for a while? Moving Soriano hasn't worked in the past, but if Lou were to make it crystal clear that he wasn't changing his mind in 48 hours, the idea might gain some traction.
Some bad numbers there. Soto's slugging is below .300 again. He's got 7 extra-base hits all year. Theriot's OBP is dropping again. He's got 38 strikeouts and 18 walks. Last year, he struck out 58 times all season and walked 73 times.
And of course, there's that .300 OBP from the leadoff hitter. But we've covered that ground.