CHICAGO – Before the season, when many were wondering how a Cubs’ team with similar players would manage to solve their offensive woes, there was a common refrain from manager David Ross.
He talked about the group’s “Baseball Card Numbers.”
It was in reference to strong performances from core players in the past and the belief that they would find it again. Some were skeptical, considering the team had faltered offensively at the end of three-consecutive seasons.
That is only growing just two weeks into the season as the Cubs’ offensive woes remain as lukewarm as the weather, no matter where the team has been playing.
Friday was another example of the Cubs’ struggles at the plate early in the season as they dropped a 5-2 decision to the Braves at Wrigley Field.
That total keeps the Cubs in last in Major League Baseball with an average of 2.62 runs a game and they came into the game with the worst average (1.63) in the league as well.
About the only thing they continue to do well, if you call it that, is getting hit. They were plunked four times by Braves pitchers on Friday, adding to their MLB-high of 13.
That got them four baserunners to go along with six hits and six walks, but the Cubs did little with that. They stranded 12 runners on base during the contest and went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, including a Joc Pederson strikeout with the bases loaded in the ninth to end the game.
All are a part of a rut for the team’s offense, one which has scored more than three runs three times in the last nine games. Not surprisingly, only two of those contests have ended in victories, and Friday didn’t either.
Similar to his last start in Pittsburgh, starter Zach Davies was done in by one bad inning, allowing four in the fourth to give Atlanta all the runs they’d need.
Once again, Anthony Rizzo and others on the team preach patience with the team early in the season, emphasizing the fact that they’ve been able to get players in position to do something. Execution in the clutch has escaped them when they’ve needed it the most.
“Listen, the more we put guys on base, the more opportunities we get to hit with guys on base. The more opportunities you get, the more you’re going to come through, hopefully,” said Rizzo.
It is a familiar refrain when it comes to the Cubs and their offense the last few years.