5/25 Where’s the power?
Entering Wednesday’s game against the Mets, Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro were tied with Alfonso Soriano for the Cubs’ RBI lead with 23 each. Usually, the top RBI guy is the big bopper. Castro and Barney have one home run each.
“We’ll always take the homers,” Cubs manager Mike Quade said. “Power doesn’t hurt at any given time. Just putting together quality at-bats, and if they’re not home runs, a double here or there [is fine].”
The emphasis should be on good swings, patience at the plate.
“And understand [the pitcher is] the guy in trouble, not the guy in the batter’s box,” Quade said. “That’s what [hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo] is working toward, that’s what they’re all working toward. We were able to string some stuff together last night. If we have quality at-bats in RBI situations, we’ll do enough damage to win games.”
What’s been strange is the HR drought by Soriano and Aramis Ramirez. Soriano has not homered since May 2; Ramirez since April 6.
“It’s a little bit of a surprise and I think a little more with Ramy because he’s been so consistent over the years,” Quade said. “I’m a past performance guy. I believe it will get better.”
* Jeff Baker was available to pinch-hit in an emergency, Cubs manager Mike Quade said Wednesday. Baker has a strained left groin, injured Sunday during an at-bat.
* Lou Montanez has yet to catch up on all the text messages and phone calls he’s received since being called up to the Cubs on Tuesday. He admitted to feeling a little “overwhelmed” by all the messages. “It always feels good to get some love,” he said.
* Rookie Welington Castillo was behind the plate Wednesday. Quade said he likes the way Castillo is able to control the running game. He’s also improved at the plate. How does the manager know? He was the one throwing batting practice to the young catcher. “You’d be surprised what you can learn doing that,” Quade said. “I actually thought his swing looked a lot better and his approach was better. He’s going to hit and hit for power. Given the injury [to his hand] and down time, I didn’t think he was near as sharp offensively this year as he was last year when he arrived.”
— Carrie Muskat