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Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Cubs' bats hitting new lows on homestand

By Bruce Levine

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs' offense has been unproductive all season but during this current seven-game homestand the bats have been more inept than usual.

Starlin Castro
Starlin Castro went 0-for-3 against the Reds on Wednesday and is now hitting .238.
Cincinnati Reds starter Mike Leake and closer Aroldis Chapman held the Cubs to three hits, which included a second-inning solo home run from Nate Schierholtz in a 2-1 victory on Wednesday.

A frustrated Cubs manager Dale Sveum had no explanation for his club slumping so badly as of late.

"It is getting frustrating," Sveum said. "It is almost the same game (everyday): Starting pitchers getting into the seventh inning with quality starts and we are not having quality at-bats. We are not getting enough quality at-bats from everybody on a daily basis."

The Cubs are 1-5 during this home series against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Reds. They have scored just 11 runs in the past six games and haven't had more than six hits in a game since June 5 against the Los Angeles Angels.

"We are just not getting aggressive swings," Sveum said. "Until we start getting more aggressive in fastball counts ... we can't keep swinging the bats the way we are in hitters counts."

The Cubs have become the whipping boys of the Reds, who have taken 10 of 12 games in 2013 and 12 straight going back to 2012 at Wrigley.

"We just have to get these guys going," Sveum said. "We just aren't getting any solid contact or slugging percentage out of them at all."

The most telling statistic in the Cubs' season-long struggle to score runs may be having led in 20 games that they have lost.

"It is a long season and a lot of ups and downs," first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. "Right now it seems everybody is on a down. What can we do about it, everybody in here is busting their butts. We are working but it is frustrating because guys hit some balls pretty good and they get caught. That is just part of the game you just have to keep going."

The Cubs are on a slightly better pace after 63 games than last year's club which lost 101 games. They were 21-42 in 2012 and are 25-38 in 2013.