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Cubs' offense unable to help rotation

8/9/2012
Jeff Samardzija got no help from his offense on Wednesday. Jake Roth/US Presswire

The Chicago Cubs’ starting staff has been gutted but it’s the offense that is struggling to find its way.

The losing streak hit eight games after Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat to the San Diego Padres.

The numbers from the winless six-game road trip to the West Coast were somewhat gruesome. The Cubs batted .163 in the six games, averaged 5.2 hits per game and scored just two runs per contest.

Had it not been for some late runs Tuesday in a game when the Cubs trailed by seven, it would have been uglier.

The failure was a complete group effort as things went from bad in Los Angeles against the Dodgers to worse in San Diego against the Padres.

Starlin Castro was hitless in his first 21 at-bats on the road trip before a sixth-inning single Wednesday, Anthony Rizzo was 0-for-9 in his return to San Diego before a single and Brett Jackson struck out eight times in the first 11 at-bats of his career.

The Cubs’ July surge is all but forgotten now and the weak link hasn’t been the starting staff which has forged on without Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm and Matt Garza.

The Cubs were getting it done from all areas last month as they appeared to be digging deep with some inevitable trades on the horizon. Now that those expected trades are complete, the Cubs appear deflated.

By why is the offense so bat when it was the rotation that had so much turnover?

The Cubs lost guys like Geovany Soto, Reed Johnson and Geoff Baker in recent days, but they weren’t main cogs in the lineup.

Leadoff man David DeJesus had just one hit on the trip before getting two Wednesday. Castro has been moved out of the No. 2 spot and the guys being used there of late, Jackson and Darwin Barney, have delivered little since the change.

Rizzo hit a home run Sunday in Los Angeles, but didn’t have much else otherwise, and Alfonso Soriano delivered just three hits in the last five games he played.

The good news for the Cubs is that the Reds limp into town for a four-game series starting Thursday while on a four-game losing streak. The bad news is that the Reds have still won 15 of their last 20 games and 19 of 26 since the All-Star break.

Even more dubious for the Cubs is the Reds’ 3.19 team ERA on the road, the second best in the major leagues behind the Washington Nationals’ 3.12 mark.