Here's about the only non-negative (note: I didn't say "positive") thing I can find in the Cubs' 4-2 loss to the Pirates last night:
The Cubs left only four men on base, and the only reason one of them (Marlon Byrd in the 9th inning) was left in scoring position is that Byrd took second on defensive indifference in the ninth inning.
That's not actually positive, of course -- the Cubs had only six baserunners all night (five hits, one HBP), had no extra-base hits, and made Charlie Morton -- who came into the game with a 12.57 ERA -- look like Roy Halladay.
Lou Piniella doesn't know what the answer is -- his "lineup shakeup" involved switching two players, with the result being two hits and an RBI in seven at-bats between Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez drove in a run with a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded -- by swinging at a 3-2 pitch way out of the strike zone that would have been ball four, scoring a run without giving up an out. Many of the Cubs were hacking at pitches out of the strike zone last night, the result being a walkless game.
I received an email from a certain member of this site last night who thinks that Xavier Nady's presence on the roster is causing all the problems -- despite the fact that Nady did not play in last night's game. Her solutions ranged from the recall of Sam Fuld (big surprise) or even Bobby Scales.
Do you think Lou would play Scales in the outfield, Jessica? That'd be fun, right?
This team has too much talent to continue to play this way all year. I feel compelled to point out that the 2007 Cubs struggled just as this team is doing, at this time of year, and in fact, for nearly a month after this early-May date. It took the famous Lou tirade in early June 2007 to shake that team up and get it to start playing better. There were important personnel changes (not just getting rid of a backup outfielder who, for some reason, has been blamed by one reader of this site for all this team's ills) made, notably the trade of Michael Barrett.
What would you do to fix what's wrong? How can this team look so good against the Diamondbacks, then look like they didn't even show up against the Pirates, a team with a pitching staff almost as bad as Arizona's?
Onward. It has to get better. Right?