If you looked around the Cubs beat this past weekend there was a lot of positivity.
Maybe some in the mainstream Cubs media are taking a page out of our playbook? Or maybe it is just that Sully isn’t around anymore? Either way, when it comes to this team it is kind of refreshing.
Looking around the coverage, you had plenty of optimism surrounding Wellington Castillo, talk of a solid bullpen for next season, an improved defense, and an infusion of pitching depth.
No matter all the potential positives mentioned above, this team isn’t going to improve much next season with the current offense. This Cubs team has slugged, but the overall approach is still maddening. I’ve heard Dale Sveum talking a lot about offensive approaches lately, and in particular he seems to have a thing for the Cardinal way.
"The thing they do is (hit) singles and keep the line moving. They don't worry about three-run homers, and that's the key to men in scoring position is thinking about singles and driving the ball up the middle and not hitting three-run home runs.''
I have no real issue with any way you can be productive offensively and it may be Sveum's way to emphasize situational hitting. Although, I did have to wonder aloud what the front office thought of that approach. I was under the impression getting men on base and hitting three run homers was something those Red Sox teams (Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Sveum were a part of) kind of made a habit of.
You may have the Cubs looking to add some offense through trades and free agency this offseason. However, Jacoby Ellsburry for instance isn’t going to make a drastic difference on his own. Growth from Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, and Junior Lake are also needed for any real change.
“We definitely have to get Rizzo and Castro going on a consistent basis these last seven weeks of the season,” manager Dale Sveum said.
“The biggest thing, especially with young hitters, is people get on base in scoring position and the light starts flashing about two-run homers and three-run homers,” Sveum said, “instead of just keeping the line moving, so it turns into a big inning with singles and doubles in the gaps (or) down the opposite line.”
Someone (around the team regularly) reminded me today that offensive philosophy really is irrelevant when you have a roster of hitters like this. You can lead them to a take sign, but you can’t help them swing at strikes.
Sveum sees help is on the way.
“Position-player wise, obviously, we have pretty good (bats) coming” Sveum said, “with [Javy] Baez and [Jorge] Soler and obviously [Junior] Lake and [Albert] Almora and [Arismendy] Alcantara”.
“So that’s always nice to be where you know that at a time [of change] all these guys could be here at the same time.”
He shouldn't count on any of those names for next year. The reality is until those kids make it up here, any philosophy is going to have to center around patience, the waiting kind.
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