Chicago Cubs: Bullpen actually isn’t this team’s Achilles’ Heel

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by David Banks/ Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: That’s what most of us want to do when the Cubs lose

As bad as the hitless streaks have been, they don’t even tell the full story of how anemic Cubs’ hitters have been of late with runners in scoring position. In fact, this season has basically been the tale of two campaigns, with the last 24 games showing a colossal disparity from the first 32.

In the last two dozen games, the Cubs have managed just a .170 average with runners in scoring position, which is about what you would expect sending Yu Darvish up there to swing every time a man is standing on second or third. Oh wait, Darvish did drive in the only run on Friday night on a SAC fly.

Those last 24 (since the Cubs drubbed the Cardinals at Wrigley, outscoring them 23-to-10 in a three-game set) have seen the Cubs struggle mightily offensively, putting up some crazy bad numbers. Among them are the fact that they were a mediocre 12-12 (now a below .500 12-13 after last night’s delay lengthened game), only scored 4.4 runs per game, and put up that .170 RISP average. Chicago was also scoring most of their runs (60 percent) via the home run during that stretch, something they continued early in the game on Saturday night as Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward each took turns blasting solo shots.

Joe Maddon even admitted there was an issue when he talked with Jordan Bastian, saying as much after Friday night’s rough walk-off loss.

"“We need to do a better job driving in runs. We wouldn’t be in that position in the end.”"

While many looked at Laz Diaz’s questionable umpiring late in the game, Maddon’s point was that it shouldn’t have even come to that (although he did a little bit more than question Diaz on the Dillon Maples‘ 3-2 slider to Harrison Bader that looked like an easy strike call).

Despite their extreme struggles of late, the Cubs are still only middle of the pack for the entire year in terms of number of runners left in scoring position per game, at 3.49 runners per game (16th in MLB), so maybe that’s something to hold on to as this has to bottom out at some point, right?