Monday, May 14, 2007

Power Outage Hits the Cubs

The Cubs salvaged the third and final game in Philadelphia yesterday by a score of 4-1. Ted Lilly pitched another masterful game and Ryan Dempster notched his eighth save of the year. The Cubs are now 17-18 and are tied for second in the division with Houston, seven games behind the Brewers.

The Cubs offense failed to hit a HR again yesterday. Three of the most feared hitters in the NL, Alfonso Soriano, Derrick Lee, and Aramis Ramirez have combined to hit only 14 HRs in 35 games. And that stat is a little misleading considering that Ramirez has eight of those 14 HRs. Soriano has four and DLee only two.

Why can’t the Cubs hit HRs this year? The trio of Ramirez, Soriano and Lee are projected to hit only 65 HRs this year. That breaks down to:

Ramirez 37 HRs
Soriano 19 HRs
Lee 9 HRs

Actually, things aren’t as bad as they may seem at first blush. If history is any indication (and it usually is), Soriano and Lee will turn the power on soon. As far as I’m concerned, the sooner the better, but by the end of the year they should have 25-35 HR each. Ramirez will likely stay on pace for 35-40 HRs.

Considering that two of the Cubs three big power hitters aren’t showing much power so far this year, you would think that the Cubs would really be suffering as a team in the HR department. However, they actually aren’t doing too bad.

As a team, the Cubs have hit 32 HRs which is 17th best out of 30 teams. The Reds and Brewers (both NL Central Division rivals) have each hit 48 HRs so far this year to lead all of MLB. That’s not so bad considering the HR struggles of Soriano and Lee. By the end of the year, I would expect the team to be much higher on the list.

It’s not all bad news for Soriano and Lee. For instance, Lee is hitting .390 with 17 doubles and 21 RBIs. Soriano is hitting .312 with 13 doubles. Unfortunately, Soriano has only contributed eight RBIs so far this season.

I’m disappointed in the way the team has played so far this year and the lack of power shown by Soriano and Lee just accentuates that point. However, I still cling to the hope that it is early and that both players will turn on the power soon. I also have to believe that HR or not, Soriano is going to start driving in some runs.


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