It’s no secret that the Chicago Cubs have great hopes for this upcoming season under the management of Rick Renteria. However, most of them are already destroyed after seeing how the team has performed in the first two games of the campaign.
A bullpen that already records a blown save, a poor performance from Carlos Villanueva – who has lost the two games in relief – on the mound and an anemic offense have been the causes of the team’s first two losses so far. Granted, the Pittsburgh Pirates are one of the best teams in the NL, but the Cubs have simply not looked good enough to start their 2014 season.
And the biggest problem has been the lack of clutch hitting, especially with runners in scoring position. This is an issue that was already present with Dale Sveum last year, and while Renteria did his best to correct it adding OBP skills and speed to the roster, it hasn’t been enough so far. Yesterday’s game against the Cubs was the perfect example: The Cubs scored three runs but they left 17 runners on the base paths in addition to being 1-of-27 with RISP. That’s simply not good enough for a team that’s looking to compete on a daily basis.
Lots of things need to change for the Cubs to turn the corner this season. The roster is slightly improved, but that hasn’t been reflected on the field so far. The team needs to improve their situational hitting if they want to have a chance to be better than they have been in recent years, something that’s not entirely difficult after losing almost 200 games in the last two campaigns.