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Out Of The Slump? Getting There...

By Jay Garneau

Despite another shutout of the Cubs offense against the Braves on Monday, I am not extremely worried the Cubs will fall back into their slump. Despite the 0 runs, the Cubs had ten hits along with three walks, leaving twelve guys on base. Unfortunately, they were 0-6 with runners in scoring position, but those are numbers that had been there the last few days.

In the Cubs' last five games, they have 51 hits. In the seven before that, they had a total of 37. That's a dramatic difference, and the results have been more than evident. The Cubs have been battling, but they can't be satisfied yet.

In the last 15 games, a handful of Cubs have started hitting. Soto is hitting over .300 with 3 HRs. Bradley is also well over .300. Of course, Derrek Lee's rampage has continued, with his hitting streak nearing 20 games. Jake Fox is starting to get consistent at bats and has been hitting the ball hard for the most part. But how can the Cubs return to the playoff form expected of them? There are a few keys.

The big key is Soriano. His OPS is a paltry .393 in the last 15 days, .508 in the last 30. The leadoff man needs to set the table. Instead, he's been an automatic out at the start of games. Hopefully, his few clutch hits and day off yesterday will give him the confidence and rest that will let him return to form.

Kosuke is back to the corkscrew swing, and quite frankly, he won't be hitting much of anything if he can't keep his head on the ball. Theriot and Fontenot need to stay consistent, they've been off and on lately. The pieces are there, and they seem to be slowly coming together.

What can't be understated is the success of the pitching staff. This team is still in the playoff hunt because of them. Ted Lilly has been worthy of Cy Young votes so far, holding an ERA of barely 3 and a WHIP of barely 1. Zambrano's finally getting hot and will hopefully stay consistent. Randy Wells has come out of nowhere, and should be about 4-1 right now. Dempster, even through struggles, still has an ERA under 4. Even the dreaded Kevin Gregg hasn't allowed an earned run in the last 15 games, and holds an ERA of 1.32 in the past month.

This team has the talent. It has the pitching, it has the offense. The offense seems to be starting to turn around, and if they can all get hot at once, this team could easily win 15 of 16 and take a commanding lead in the faltering NL Central. With Ramirez seemingly just a few weeks away, the Cubs look to make a playoff push in the near future.

1 comment:

  1. Of course, the first time in my life I've ever defended Kevin Gregg, and he pulls this. See if I do that again..