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Chicago Cubs Shortstop Starlin Castro Moved Up to No. 2 Hitter: Fan’s Take

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The Chicago Cubs lost their 10th consecutive game with a 1-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 25, 2012. Ryan Dempster remains winless despite having a 2.14 ERA after eight starts. Dempster surrendered a second-inning RBI single to Pirates catcher Rod Barajas in the second inning. That was the only run that Dempster allowed in 7.1 innings.

The Cubs have a 0-6 record since Wood retired on May 19. They've been outscored 29-10 during that stretch. Eight of those 10 runs occurred when they were trailing by seven-to-eight runs in the ninth inning. They've basically scored two meaningful runs in the span of one week.

Too bad this isn't 'MLB 12: The Show.' Most of the players would've failed so many individual objectives for so many consecutive weeks that they'd have been demoted to Double-A by now. Some of these players belong there.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum had previously stated that he was considering changes to the top of the order in an effort to increase run production. Sveum made some significant changes when he used Starlin Castro as the No. 2 hitter and Joe Mather as the No. 3 hitter. Castro had spent the entire season as the No. 3 hitter. Mather has been used as a utility player.

The changes made no difference on the scoreboard. Castro and Mather combined for four hits. Seven of the team's 10 hits occurred from their No. 1 through No. 5 hitters. Bryan LaHair continued his slump as he was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. The Cubs failed to score any runs on 10 hits.

What can Sveum do to ignite this offense? The top-five hitters aren't getting timely hits when runners are in scoring position. I think the bottom-half-of-the-order is an even bigger problem. All I need to point out is that Adrian Cardenas was the No. 6 hitter in this game. The No. 6 hitter can't have a .167 on-base percentage with little-to-no power potential. Cardenas shouldn't even be a No. 6 hitter at Triple-A Iowa, much less a MLB roster.

I thought this team would be bad. However, this has gotten pathetic. I'm disappointed with how this team has responded since Kerry Wood retired. I would've liked to at least seen a pulse from these players when they were faced with their first significant mental challenge in 2012. Alas, while Wood was the only player who legally retired, it seems like most of the players retired in spirit with him.

Will "Ten Rounds of Jose Cuervo" end on May 26? I'm just thankful that I'm not playing a drinking game on this losing streak.

Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. He immediately gained an admiration for Cubs fans after watching numerous games on WGN during the mid-90s. His favorite Cubs moment was Kerry Wood's(notes) 1-hitter, 20K extravaganza that was only denied of a no-hitter by Kevin Orie's defensive blunder. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and "4th & 26" in a span of three months. He can be found on Twitter HERE.

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