A couple weeks back, I asked right there on this very blog space whether the Cubs could go winless on their trip to Cincinnati, Florida and Boston. That was right after they played two horrible games in Cincy. They then went out and won two in Florida before dropping two of three in Boston. Not good, but it could have been worse.
It’s safe to ask that question again today as they prepare for their series finale at St. Louis. Big Z ought to give them a pretty good shot today against Chris Carpenter. After that, though, it’s three in Cincy and four in Philly, where things could get really ugly. The Cubs are on pace to finish with a record of 67-95. Also, a big thanks to Mike Murphy and Fred Huebner for having me on their ESPN 1000 show this morning.
My friends in St. Louis have tweeted today’s lineup:
Ramirez returns to the lineup after missing two games after taking seven stitches in the mouth. Colvin is back in center. His last major-league hit came April 28. Colvin was 0-for-12 in May, and he’s 0-for-10 in June so far.
Darwin Barney has slipped below .300 in batting average, at .294, and it looks to me like he needs a rest. This was a big worry of mine when Barney started to play every day, that and what would happen once the BABIP started to fall, which it has. Barney is not the biggest guy in the world, and manager Mike Quade will be well-advised to give the kid a rest and start DJ LeMahieu for a game, especially with the stretch the Cubs are in.
Let’s look at some numbers:
--Barney and Starlin Castro both are 1-for-10 on the road trip so far.
--Barney’s line is .294/.315/.370. His walk rate is 3.1 percent, and we’ll get to that stat for the Cubs in just a minute.
--Barney’s BABIP by month has gone .354 in April, .308 in May and .083 in June. He’s hitting fewer line drives and more groundballs and flyballs. More flyballs surely mean more outs for a guy with no power.
We mentioned walks. The Cubs have the dubious distinction of having four players in the bottom six of BB percentage in baseball. The tops are Vladimir Guerrero (2.2), Marlon Byrd (2.7), Orlando Cabrera (2.9), Barney (3.1), Castro and Alfonso Soriano (3.2).
On offense, the cubs are ninth in runs scored, fourth in OBP but dead last in walks by a long ways. They have 140. Next worst in the NL is Houston, with 154. In 12 innings yesterday, the Cubs had no walks. Zero.
The pitching is last in ERA (4.78), next to worst in walks allowed, worst in earned runs and last in quality starts (19). The team with the next-fewest quality starts is the Mets, with 27. When the Cubs get a quality start, they are 13-6, and the starters have an ERA of 2.07 in those starts. When they don’t get a quality start, the team is 10-27, and the starters have an ERA of 8.07 in those starts.
The defense is 14th in errors, last in total chances and tied for last in fielding percentage.
Class AAA Iowa beat Omaha 10-4 last night, with Ramon Ortiz (4-2, 4.35) getting the win by going 7 innings and giving up 10 hits and 2 earned runs. Bryan LaHair hit his 14th homer, and Bobby Scales hit his fifth. Welington Castillo was 2-for-5.
Class AA Tennessee fell 5-3 to Jackson. Brooks Raley took the loss, working 6 innings and giving up 8 hits and 5 runs, 3 earned. He’s 2-3 with a 5.10 ERA. Ryan Flaherty (.313) was 3-for-4 with his 12th homer and 2 RBI, giving him 52 for the year. Brett Jackson (.265) was 1-for-4 with a walk. Pitching prospect Trey McNutt is on the DL with bruised ribs.
Class A Daytona fell 4-0 to Brevard County. Zach Rosscup worked 3 innings, giving up 3 hits and 2 earned runs while walking none and striking out three. He fell to 3-1 with a 3.08 ERA. Left fielder Rubi Silva was 2-for-4.
Class A Peoria beat Great Lakes 11-4. Cam Greathouse got the win, working 5.1 innings, giving up 6 hits and 4 runs, 3 earned. He walked five and struck out two. Third baseman Greg Rohan (.349) extended a hitting streak to 16 games, going 2-for-5 with a double and 2 RBI. First baseman Richard Jones hit his ninth homer.
Six Chiefs were named Midwest League All-Stars: Starters are infielder Pierre LePage, Rohan and outfielder Matt Szczur. Reserves are catcher Micah Gibbs and Jones. Pitcher Austin Kirk, a lefty, also made it.