The ERA of the Cubs bullpen this year. That puts them ranked 26th in baseball, ahead of only the Reds, Brewers, Angels and Diamondbacks. I feel like the group has improved since the showings we saw early in the year, but not by much. I’m a fan of the bullpen by kids approach and wish Hendry would be a little more patient with some of the young arms we have in the system before going outside for help. All we’ve seen with hired help is guys performing for a period only to completely bomb out. Think recently and remember names like Remlinger, Howry, Eyre, Hawkins. Need I go on? Give these kids a chance. On a positive note, Milwaukee’s ERA out of the pen is 6.22 and the Diamondbacks are sporting a very sexy 7.70 ERA. It could definitely be worse for us.
The number of saves by former Cubs closer, Kevin Gregg. You’ve got to be Gregging kidding me. How is it that this bum pitched well in Florida, sucked here with every straight meatball he threw, and then goes to Toronto a saves games like it’s going out of style? Something is wrong with that. Do you think it’s a fluke or was it something about his time here? I think he’ll come back to normal and we’ll begin to see the blown saves pile up for Gregg. Until then, I’m gonna be angry.
The number of walks drawn so far this year by a guy I simply wrote off all off-season. Geovany Soto has changed his approach at the plate and is turning himself into an on base machine. The 30 walks drawn so far this year puts him tied for 4th in the NL and just three off the lead. I’ve heard people make the case that the main reason for the increase in walks is primarily due to the fact that he’s spent the majority of the time hitting in the 8th spot, which sees him being pitched around in favor of the pitcher. I want to believe that isn’t true. I’ve called for Lou to bat him higher in the order and will continue to do so until it happens.
The on base percentage of what many would have considered our best hitter coming into the season. That .225 OBP makes him the lowest on base hitter in all of baseball when you look simply at guys who have enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title right now. I don’t know what the problem is and I don’t know what the solution is. Right now, no one does. I’ll tell you what the solution is not. The answer is not to boo Aramis out of town every time he strikes out. It’s not to bench him because he’s simply not trying. Do you really think we’re better with Jeff Baker in there? Aramis Ramirez, in spite of the awful hitting, gives us the best chance to win because his ceiling is the highest of all the hitters on this team. Lee and Ramirez will hit. In the meantime we have to be patient and let them work out their issues lower in the order, not on the bench.
The number of pitches seen per plate appearance by Derrek Lee. One of the worst things to see with a guy who is struggling at the plate is a lack of patience. Lee has shown patience at the plate and is making the pitcher work. He’ll start seeing mistake pitches and will capitalize on those soon. I believe that. That patience ranks him 14th in all of baseball when it comes to the number of pitches seen each at bat. Ramirez ranks 40th with a 4.07 P/PA number. Be patient Cub fans. Good things are coming with these two.