Identifying the Problem
This has been hashed and rehashed over many blogs these last couple of days as the Cubs ineptitude came screaming to the forefront when the Cubs failed to defeat a pitcher with a 7.05 ERA. But I think we need to really appreciate how far-reaching this problem is, and a table is the best way to do this:
The most glaring feature of this table? The league average for OBP is .331. The table above shows 6 out of 8 regulars in the starting lineup with a below average OBP. The only members absent from this scrutiny are the 2nd base combo of Walker/Hairston and the great Derrek Lee. I mean, it is really amazing. Only 2 regulars in the entire starting lineup for the Chicago Cubs get on base at an above average rate. As a team, the Cubs are 10 points of OBP below average. And, as we see on a daily basis, this directly correlates to a low scoring offense.
The way I see it, Aramis is the only player likely to improve his OBP more than marginally and so I'm afraid I see no reason for optimism in the future. This is a bad team and there is no getting around it. The homers will continue be solo homers, hits will find holes but no one will be on base, and the Cubs will continue to not score runs. The Cubs' only hope for the playoffs is if the pitching can get them there or if a trade is made (and it would have to be a major trade). At this point, I would only consider Lee and Ramirez as untouchable.
Injuries are not the problem. Hitting home runs is not the problem. Wrigley Field is not the problem. Making outs is the problem. This team is fundamentally flawed.