Maybe it’s time for the Chicago Cubs to eliminate that bunting competition that they do in spring training. Instead, they can shift their focus on a competition that includes hitting left-handed pitchers. Can someone ask the video assistant whether he has any tips on how to combat a southpaw?
The Cubs continue to struggle against left-handed pitching. In 36 innings against such pitchers, the Cubs have scored there runs. Their latest predator came when Texas Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland threw seven shutout innings in a 4-2 Rangers win on Apr. 16. Holland allowed two hits and no walks.
This has become an ongoing problem. In 2012, the Cubs started the season with a 3-16 record against southpaws. That included a .215 batting average against them. Almost all of this came before Anthony Rizzo was promoted from Triple-A.
For 2013, management tried to rectify that problem when they signed Scott Hairston. They also thought that Dave Sappelt could assist them as a leadoff hitter against lefties. But after four games, both players combine for an ugly 2-for-33 stat line. Management has yet to find a serviceable replacement for Aramis Ramirez in the heart of the lineup.
Is it time for Cubs manager Dale Sveum to rethink his strategy? David DeJesus and Nate Schierholtz don’t start against left-handed pitchers. And after four games, Sveum may consider it as too small of a sample size to adjust.
But with a 4-9 record, the Cubs can’t afford anymore setbacks. Or once again, they’ll find themselves out of pennant contention before June—even May rolls around.