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Cubs Can Perry, Lose Series to Twins

By Garrett Monaghan

Apparently Jim Hendry reads my blog. After I suggested the Cubs needed a new approach at the plate on Friday; Cubs GM Jim Hendry dismissed hitting coach Gerald Perry before Sunday's game, replacing him with AAA hitting coach Von Joshua. The Cubs responded with a walk-off 4-3 win over the Twins, salvaging the final game of yet another series in which the Cubs made a succession of average pitchers look like the next coming of the Nasty Boys.

As of today, the Cubs are 14th in the National League in runs scored, 13th in batting average, 11th in on-base percentage, and 10th in slugging percentage; so it's hard to argue that a change of some kind wasn't in order. On the whole, I'm pretty optimistic about Joshua's chances of revitalizing the offense. As the hitting coach for Iowa over the last few years, Joshua has worked with a lot of the Cubs' younger players, including Geovanny Soto, Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot, Micah Hoffpauir, and the recently demoted Jake Fox. With Aramis Ramirez out for at least another three to four weeks, the Cubs really need some of the younger guys to pick up the slack and start hitting like they did last year, and re-uniting them with their minor league hitting coach seems like a decent way to go about it. Soto has already been showing signs of drastic improvement lately, and went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI on Sunday.

Of course, it isn't just the young guys that haven't been producing for the Cubs lately. Joshua will also be responsible for turning around Milton Bradley, whose .227/.335/.383 line thus far as provided the team with a gaping hole in the middle of the order; and Alfonso Soriano, who is providing the Cubs with a gaping hole at the top of the order. It's probably unfair to put expect Joshua to turn the team around overnight, but the Cubs need to start making major progress at the plate if they expect to salvage the season.

The Cubs take on the hated crosstown rival White Sox for a three game series starting tomorrow, which means we'll get to see if this is finally the year Carlos Zambrano dismembers and eats A.J. Pierzynski. Like the Cubs, the White Sox have been getting superb pitching and terrible offense lately; so unless the wind is howling out, this could be a very low-scoring series. The Cubs are carrying 13 pitchers as of today, so look for a reappearance by Jake Fox tomorrow.


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