Where Did The Cubs' Offense Go? Cubs vs. Athletics Preview, Tuesday 6/15, 7:05 CT

On May 23, the Cubs beat the Rangers 5-4 in Texas, winning that series and edging closer to .500 at 21-24.

Since then the Cubs have played 18 games and scored a total of 59 runs -- 3.3 per game. Take out the eight vs. Houston on June 5 and the nine vs. Milwaukee on June 9, and that leaves 42 runs in the other 16 -- 2.6 per game. They've allowed 68 runs in the 18 games -- 3.8 per game. If they did that for a full season, it would extrapolate to 612 runs. Last year's Cubs allowed 672 runs, which ranked 5th-best in the NL. The NL's best last year, the Dodgers and Giants, tied with 611 runs allowed. So the pitching isn't the issue.

The Cubs have gone 7-11 in those 18 games and won four of them by shutout, including two 1-0 games. The last time before this year that the Cubs won two 1-0 games in a season (much less within 18 games) was 2003.

This team has had solid starting pitching most of this season. They still rank near the top of the NL in quality starts (third, behind the Cardinals and Giants, with 38). They're in the middle of the pack with 276 runs allowed (slightly less than the current league average of 280). But the runs-scored total of 262 borders on pathetic (ranking 14th). The Cubs are ninth in BA, 12th in OBA, and 12th in OPS.

These hitters are better than this. If they start hitting as they are capable, this team could still put together a decent winning streak and make something of this season. But time is growing VERY short to do this.

One more note: Happy 72nd Birthday today to Cubs Hall of Famer Billy Williams.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano
Cubs
vs. Trevor Cahill
Trevor Cahill
Athletics
2-4 W-L 5-2
6.05 ERA 2.91
41 SO 30
21 BB 19
5 HR 6
vs. Oak -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Carlos Zambrano 2-4 20 6 0 0 0 0 41.2 50 29 28 5 21 41 6.05 1.70


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Trevor Cahill 5-2 9 9 0 0 0 0 55.2 45 21 18 6 19 30 2.91 1.15

Trevor Cahill is 22 years old. He's in his second major league season; last year, he got hit fairly hard. This year, he's been one of the better starters in the American League. Obviously, he has never faced the Cubs, except during this spring training game on March 4 of this year. Derrek Lee took him deep. That'd be nice to repeat tonight, especially considering how D-Lee has been slumping lately. The only Cub that Cahill has faced during the regular season is Marlon Byrd (4-for-10).

Z faced the A's in their only other appearance at Wrigley in 2004; here's the boxscore from June 20, 2004, although no one from that team is still on the A's (several of those players are retired). Current A's are 5-for-24 against Z. He gave the Brewers only two hits in his last outing, although his command wasn't very good (five walks).

Today's game is on cable in both Chicago and the Bay Area, CSN in both regions. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Athletics site Athletics Nation.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 7 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 8, 9 and 9:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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