Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cubs Most Offensive Stat? Defense!

Well folks, our beloved men in blue have me scratching my head. The Cubs have played three series and already have a three game losing streak. The weather seems to be the only thing colder than the Cubs offense as snow postponed the series finale against Houston. Your three and four hitters are doing their job, but once again the lack of players on base in front of them has put the offense in the deep freeze.

It also hasn't taken long for the team's defense to show it's shortcomings. The Cubs have opted to roll the dice on two of the more important defensive positions catcher and CF, in hopes those players offensive production will make up for their defensive lapses. Throw in a 3 error game by the other critical defensive position SS, and WTF! If this team doesn't hit, they'll have as much a chance of holding any lead as you would of eating soup with a fork.

Fortunately for the Cubs, the skipper won't stand long for this. He's has already shown the willingness to rotate players around and it hopefully won't take long for him to bench the whole starting lineup if things don't improve. Over/Under on base throwing or fisticuffs in the dugout, is dropping faster than the temperature.


The rotation is doing enough for the Cubs to win but as I've said over and over again, baseball is a zero sum game. Score more runs than the opposition, you win. I'm sure the offense will perform better as the season progresses, but as this early season has shown us, hitters go in slumps. If the Cubs want the best chance to be in every game, they need to place a higher importance on the defense. Blanco can hep prevent runs, he needs to start at least 25% of the games. Felix Pie needs to be called up to anchor that outfield defense, regardless of how much screaming you get from Murton, Jones and Floyd for playing time.

Unlike the offense, the defense never goes into a slump and when the team is struggling to score runs, could very well make the difference in a win or loss.

2 comments:

Jason said...

Soriano has made exactly one bad play in the outfield. Granted, he hasn't made up for it yet with his bat, but don't you think he will eventually?

As you said, if you score more runs than you give up, you will win. What you have to ask yourself is, does Barrett's bat score more runs than his glove surrenders? I would say yes (or it will, anyway).

I have been disappointed in Barrett's defense thus far, though, I have to admit.

CLUTE said...

Jason-

What I'm trying to point out is that there is'nt any good reason why Blanco should'nt catch Zambrano plus a handful of other games throughout the year when the Cubs face a speed team. Today's game against the Reds further goes to underscore the importance of the finer points of the game when Zambrano was struggling, Barrett didn't slow down the game to give the bullpen enough time to warm up. Plus Blanco carries enough street credit, especially with a Latin pitcher like Zambrano.

Soriano on the other hand just doesn't have the experience necessary to play the most demanding outfield position. Just again today against the Reds he misplayed a ball and when you've only payed a few as games as the Cubs have, it's nuts to have any mistakes in CF. A good not great CF'er might not have but a coupe of bad breaks on a ball all season long. Soriano's defense is going to cost us guaranteed. It's not like he isn't going to bat playing either one of the other outfield spots.