The Chicago Cubs took a step closer to the dreaded 100-loss mark by losing to the Cincinnati Reds 3-1 in a home series opener on Tuesday, September 18. After scoring 26 runs over three days last weekend, the Cubs have now managed just one total run in the last two games. With two games remaining against the Reds, the Cubs need to win both to win the series.
The Cubs have 14 games remaining this season and need to win five to assure they will not lose 100 for the year. However, the offense will need to play better if the team hopes to do that. Darwin Barney had the team's only two hits on Monday, when the Cubs lost to the Pirates. Then on Tuesday the Cubs began the Reds series by combining for just four hits. Again, Barney had two of them. The middle of the order has been absent, and Chicago needs Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano to contribute offensively if they want to have a shot at winning.
Starter Justin Germano had another decent outing, allowing three runs in five innings. Many starters will earn wins with those numbers on nights when their offenses give any kind of support. Furthermore, the bullpen threw another four innings of shutout baseball, giving up only one hit to he Reds after Germano's exit, striking out four and walking none in the process. It was a solid game by the team's pitchers.
As a Cubs fan, it is frustrating to watch the team play so inconsistently, especially on offense. It is clear that this roster needs a few additions for next year. Manager Dale Sveum has tried various combinations, but there is just not enough at the top or bottom to compensate when the middle struggles at all.
The Reds will be trying to clinch the NL Central this week and would love to sweep the Cubs. However, I am hoping to see the offense come back to life and make the Reds wait a little longer by taking this series.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.