The Chicago Cubs problems continued on Tuesday. Despite a solid effort from starting pitcher Travis Wood, the Cubs dropped their eighth consecutive game losing to the Houston Astros 2 to 1.
There are multiple reasons for the Cubs latest losing streak. The starting pitching, the one area that has kept the Cubs competitive in games this season, has struggled during the Cubs losing streak. And when the starting pitcher does turn in a quality start, the offense can not muster up the run support. There is no question that the most troubling area about the Cubs has been their offense. Players such as Bryan LaHair and Tony Campana are starting to come back down to earth, and other players such as Geovany Soto, Ian Stewart, and Darwin Barney have appeared to be ineffective on offense.
May be the Chicago Cubs should take notes from the Iowa Cubs. After all, most of the Cubs future is currently on the Iowa Cubs’ roster. The likes of center fielder Brett Jackson, third baseman Josh Vitters, and first baseman Anthony Rizzo all are expected to be key parts to the future of the Major League team. Two of those players, Jackson and Rizzo, are expected to make their debut with the Cubs before the 2012 season concludes. For Jackson, he will also be making his Major League debut. Vitters is expected to be on the Major League roster during the 2013 season.
On Tuesday, the Iowa Cubs did something that may be impossible for the Major League team to do. The Iowa Cubs collected 18 hits and 18 runs in their game against the Tacoma Rainiers on Tuesday. Jackson was not in the lineup. However, Rizzo was 3 for 5 with a home run, 3 RBIs and 5 runs scored in Tuesday’s game. Vitters, on the other hand, was 2 for 5 on Tuesday with a double and a RBI.
The Chicago Cubs need offense. The Iowa Cubs have offense. Put two and two together and one would figure that the Cubs offense will receive a life once some of the organization’s top prospects are promoted to the Major League level. Though, as the case with Rizzo, the Cubs are not going to simply call up the likes of Jackson and Vitters for the mere purpose of trying to improve the 2012 team. The focus is on 2013 and beyond, and the Cubs will call up their top prospects when they feel they are ready. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the team is saving money each day that Jackson, Rizzo, and Vitters remain with the Iowa Cubs.
Cue the one liners in 3…2..1
The Chicago Cubs placed Welington Castillo on the 15 day disabled list. Steve Clevenger is currently rehabbing with the Iowa Cubs and should return to the Major League team after this weekend. Clevenger has a golden opportunity to take control of the Cubs’ catching position. Geovany Soto, who has struggled this season, will be out for the next 4 weeks after opting to have arthroscopic knee surgery this past weekend.
The Cubs are now the worst team in Major League baseball after their loss against the Houston Astros and the Minnesota Twins victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday. Call me a cynic, but the first overall selection in the amateur draft next season certainly does not sound like bad idea to these ears.
There has been increased speculation over the past week that starting pitcher Ryan Dempster is going to be traded. Reports such as the one David Kaplan of Comcast Sportsnet Chicago suggest that there is no question about it, the Cubs are “100%” going to trade Dempster this season. Dempster does have the ability to veto any trade that he is a part of, but the starting pitcher may be willing to waive his 10 and 5 rights for the opportunity to pitch for a contender. The current plan for the Cubs appears to be one that includes trading Dempster while signing Matt Garza to a long term extension. Such a philosophy would be a great indicator of the Cubs movement towards the team’s long-term future.