8/13 Monday morning quarterback

When a Cubs player has a tough time, Dale Sveum often calls it a “hiccup.” This month has been one big hiccup. Getting caught up after a tough weekend vs. the Reds …

* What happened? After a winning July, the Cubs are 1-10 in August, and batting .199 this month with a .300 slugging percentage. They’re averaging 2.8 runs per game, and have been out-scored 55-31, out-hit 104-71, and out-homered 11-5.

The pitchers have posted a 5.01 ERA, and opponents were batting .277 against in the last 11 games. The starters are 0-8 with a 4.48 ERA with six quality starts (Dates: 8/4, 8/6, 8/8, 8/9, 8/11, 8/12), while the bullpen has a 6.21 ERA, giving up 20 earned runs over 29 innings. Teams are batting .346 against the Cubs bullpen this month.

* 3B Josh Vitters was expected to start two of the three games against this week the Astros. Dale Sveum says Vitters, who has made three starts, is a good fastball hitter, which should serve him well in the big leagues.

* What’s surprising about the offensive slump is that the players dealt at the Trade Deadline (Reed Johnson, Jeff Baker, Geovany Soto) weren’t exactly forces in the Cubs lineup. Here are August numbers so far:

Anthony Rizzo .209 (9-for-43)
Darwin Barney .250 (10-for-40)
Starlin Castro .163 (7-for-43)
Steve Clevenger .143 (2-for-14)
David DeJesus .216 (8-for-37)
Brett Jackson .150 (3-for-20)
Alfonso Soriano .189 (7-for-37)
Bryan LaHair .176 (3-for-17)
Luis Valbuena .261 (6-for-23)

* August numbers for the bullpen …

Shawn Camp: 6 Gs, 8 ER, 4 2/3 IP, 15.43 ERA
Carlos Marmol: 4 Gs, 1 ER, 4 IP, 2.25 ERA
James Russell: 6 Gs, 3 ER, 5 IP, 5.40 ERA (.440 batting average against)

* On the plus side, congrats to Tim Wilken, who was director of amateur scouting and named a special assistant to GM Jed Hoyer.

* Keep an eye on: Double-A Tennessee first baseman Justin Bour now has 100 RBIs, and was batting .300. He’s batting .341 in August with four home runs and 15 RBIs. Bour is the first player in the Southern League to drive in 100 runs in a single season since 1999. Bour is the first player in the Cubs Minor League organization this year to reach 100 RBIs.

– Carrie Muskat 

21 Comments

i believe we have a good young team. should be real good next year( we have been saying that over 100 years). i think we just need some more good pitching. Travis wood, Jeff smardijma, Brooks Raley seems to be a good start. a couple more good young starters would help. although Soriano is having a break-out year his better days are behind. need young speedy good hitting outfielders. i live 2 hours from Cincinnati Ohio in Richmond Indiana. am always hoping the Cubs will beat those Redlegs.

Breakout year…funny stuff!

do you watch the same cubs i do? This team sucks and won’t be 500 next year

Looking at the numbers, I can see if one or two players are hitting poorly, but not the entire lineup. Which means there is something wrong with the hitting coach approach and teachings. Same with the pitching coach. It is a young team, and it takes time to learn when you are a rookie. But when you see players like Harper, Trout, Cespedes & Machado doing well, it makes you think why at least one of our guys can be like them. Some say Trout is on a record pace for a hitter and base stealer and will be a HOF someday. Same thing was said about Astros Cesear Cedeno when he broke into the league in the early 70’s with those same numbers that Trout has.

Wilken moved up. Maybe it was more of paving way for the new guy. People who are special assistants to the GM, are more of a “get me my copy of Sporting News” type of guy. If Wilken was going to be the GM, wouldn’t the Cubs ownership just named him instead of hiring Hoyer? I mean Wilken was doing the job when Hendry left.

I said in mid July that Russel could bring in a few good prospects. But many of you said not to trade him. LHP’s was wanted before the deadline. Especially the relievers.

Luis is nice guy, but it is time to put Vitters in the lineup and see what he can do on a daily basis.

Both Woods and Volstad has pitched okay, even they lost. Keep opposing teams down 3 runs or less, and you have a chance to win. Volstad has to finish strong to get his contract tendered.

Maholm pitched a nice 9 inning shutout the other night for the Braves.

Play Vitters on a daily basis? Bench the AWESOME Valbuena? Why that’s crazy talk…Cubs Talk. At least to Sveum evidently. But apparently makes perfect sense to you, myself and Steve Stone. Why Valbeuna is taking palying time from Vitters is astounding.

what do you expect the cubs are a minor league team playing major league teams the only major leaguer on the team now is soriano lol

To say Soriano is the only Major Leaguers is idiotic Castro is an allstar Rizzo on pace to hit 30+ homeruns in a full season and Darwin Barney is the best fielder in baseball.

bravo bravo!! yes i totally with you Xavier Rice. Castro is a all star (2 times) Rizzo very much is a impact player and will hit 30+ homeruns plus hit for average. i would just as soon have Barney batting with the game on the line as anyone else in the league

I think Dreamchaserstoy was going for humor, respecting Soriano’s age, tenure etc. and NOT his “ability” to play in the ML. Right? More like a babysitter situation for all the youngsters…

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When will the fans get minor league prices for minor league enterainment?

We shouldn’t expect to have it both ways. I admit to wanting this rebuild and using all our rookies at least for the sake of evaluation leading to Hoystein making responsable roster decisions for next season. It is still a major leage team/BUSINESS and they just happen to be bad NOW. But in a few years with the right mix of those rookies that are deemed “keepers” (hopefully Soler and some others we have yet to even see in Wrigley) plus some quality NATIONAL LEAGUE type of free agents (no more Sorianos, Bradleys etc.) our beloved Cubs will get to the next level…contending which will be followed by a World Series appearance. If Hoystein doesn’t get it done…..NEXT!

On the right track Joey…good comment.

Sometimes even the national TV announcer’s reference, just short of saying the crazy Cubs fans just keep buying tickets and get a loser in return year after year. I mean, even my dog doesn’t crap in the same spot after bitten in the butt several times without something changing. But I keep going and watching; guess my dog is a little smarter.

Bryan LaHair has not been right ever since Sveum started platooning him which was made worse with the move to right field.

yes Lahair has not been the same since Rizzo came aboard. don,t get me wrong i like them both. and i think the Cubs need two young left handed sluggers. ( breaks up the all righty lineup) but Lahair is not hitting and needsto play more to develop. and i think he is going to be a good player. but not hitting and being an easy out isn,t cutting it. i hate to say it but maybe the Cubs need to trade Lahair for two major league ready young starting pitchers or maybe even throw in a veteran reliever. but the idael situation would be to keep both Lahair and Rizzo.

I think you are over evaluating LaHair’s trade value.

Lahair has no value…. let alone 2 major league ready arms plus a reliever… come on!

Eh, I was a big LaHair backer and have to admit his benching is more on him than Sveum. Bryan just flat out forgot how to hit. I am NOT saying I am happy that Sveum pretty much abandoned him but if you’re a good hitter you should be able to avoid such a looooong drought. However if Sveum really wanted to give one last sincere shot at CORRECTING and HELPING LaHair become a run producing hitter the Cubs will need in RF next season than he would play him every day while there is NOTHING TO LOSE (What? DeJesus’ pride or awesome run production? Please.) and consider LaHair auditioning like Vitters and Jackson. But to keep trotting DeJesus (and even the “Gold Glover” Sorinao) out there every day while either Jackson or LaHair sit the bench is just not helping sort out the puzzle for next year.
With that said….LaHair blew it.

Why are the Cubs in an August slump? How would you feel if you were a Cub and management said they don’t care about today, it’s all about 3-5 years from now? It would make it pretty difficult to get UP for a game. It’s a game of momentum and management just took it away from them. The winning attitude is gone. I’m rooting for all the ex Cubs on their new teams and I hope Soriano finds a new home where he’s wanted.

If I were a YOUNG Cub, a rookie, I would feel GREAT!! Knowing that this would be the only way to prove myself to become an everyday ML player. Wouldn’t it be much worse for these young kids back in the days of Hendry’s veteran/free agent sprees? The kids would be in AA or AAA knowing their chances of becoming a Cub were slim and none. NOW with Epstein and his starting from scratch, long term plan…OPPORTUNITY is NOW knocking for these young players and I would have to think they will play at their best effort to claim a spot. The slump is due to lack of talent or should I say un yet developed talent? The talent may or may not show up in these kids but I would think the slump is NOT due to them not getting up for a game. Anybody who’s played baseball (sports) for the most part will always get up for a game. In the game…THE GAME IS ON, no matter the record or the odds of winning are stacked against you. Some mental lapses will surely happen as they do to young and old player alike, winning or losing teams. This “slump” is not a slump. In order to be in a slump one (or the team) would have to at one time been CONSISTENTLY GOOD and the the Cubs TEAM were never that this season. Lack of talent and growing pains = losses. This must be endured in order to get on the right course and assemble a roster.

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