by Andy Paschen
The Chicago Cubs offense is pathetic right now. True, they are a middling 7th in runs scored in the N.L., 7th in BA and 9th in OBP, which isn’t technically pathetic, but recently they have been a disappointment.The Cubs had one earned run over four games last week (the last two Cincy games and the first two Cardinals games). 1 ER in 36 innings. Woof.
Part of the reason can be placed on unreasonable expectations given to a team with recent success in the regular season and the fact that just four regulars are hitting over .250 (Kosuke Fukudome, Aramis Ramirez, Ryan Theriot and Alfonso Soriano are the only everyday Cubs producing consistently), but really, the injury bug has bitten the baby bears. It hasn’t been a real bug though (no Cub has hit the DL yet) more like a bad cold that just won’t go away.
Milton Bradley – day-to-day (groin)
Diagnosis: The Meth Bear‘s groin has limited him to 28 at-bats through Tuesday. The injury seems to have the power to defy the laws of time and medicine, getting neither better or worse some two or three odd weeks after he was injured. The groin is a sensitive area (you’re telling me!) and as John Salmons over in the NBA has shown, the only way to truly defeat it is to rest it.
Prognosis: He has played in two consecutive games for the first time since getting injured during the Arizona series, and collected two hits in the first contest. Hopefully the combination of time and warm weather in Arizona will continue the healing process, but the problem is the return, where the Cubs probably won’t see a thermometer reading over 65 for the next two series. Basically: When Chicago warms, Bradley will thaw. Until then, I wouldn’t count on anything.
Derrek Lee: day-to-day (neck spasms)
Diagnosis: Apparently (seriously, this is news to me) Derrek has been battling disc problems for hte better part of two years now, which is why he occasionally gets pulled from the lineup for neck and back spasms. I always though it was the wrist injury that kept him from coming on strong, but the neck and the back are the true smoking guns here.
Prognosis: Listen people, Derrek Lee isn’t a 3-4-5 hitter anymore. Sure the season is as young as a Chinese gymnast, but .209 1 HR and 10 RBI from the three spot in one of the better lineups in the N.L. is piss poor. Even if he does come back, it’s time for him to move out of his spot in the order and continue to shuffle the lineup.
Aramis Ramirez: day-to-day (strained calf)
Diagnosis: Of anyone on the list, this is the most worrisome. Not only is the calf much more serious than any of the other injuries discusses here, but Aramis Ramirez’s production in the lineup cannot be replaced. It is absolutely critical, without equivocation. Remember when I offered you a glimpse of The Ghost of Cubs’ Future without Ramirez? Scary. Plus, I have him pegged as the Cubs MVP this year an to have his best statistical season in the red and blue, so my pride’s on the line as well. Get your act together calf.
Prognosis: Honestly, who in Ice Cube’s Amazonian adventure knows? He’s listed as day-to-day, but if he isn’t back in the lineup within the week I’m might start freaking out he’ll be the first victim of the DL. Without Ramirez to negate the shell of a player that Lee is, the beefy part of the Cubs order starts to look extremely flaccid.
Geovany Soto: no injury? (shoulder?)
Diagnosis: Are we sure this guy’s shoulder is all healed up? Let’s look at his numbers thus far:
2009 season (first 15 games): .119 BA, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .275 OBP.
2008 season (first 15 games): .305 BA, 2 HR, 13 RBI, .403 OBP.
Sure, if we factor in the shoulder injury and the sample size it is very conceivable that this is more anomaly than trend. It is too early to say either way. But clearly something is bothering him.
Prognosis: Personally, I believe that his former WBC teammate Yadier Molina put some bad Juju on Geovany without telling him and stole his hitting prowess. How else do you explain Yadier’s numbers? .353 BA, 2 HR, 12 RBI, .423 OBP … you’re not fooling me witch doctor. If you want to suck someone of talent, try this guy. If that doesn’t work, I’m calling up Julio Zuleta and a Greek orthodox priest and we’re holding a good old fashioned seance. I’ll bring the Ouija board.
UPDATE: Not to mention, the current Cubs game being played as I typed this was 9-0 Diamondbacks in the 8th. Nothing like mustering two hits in seven innings against all-world beater Doug Davis. Christ.