Of the many numbers that were kept during the Chicago Cubs most recent seven game home stand, the number that sticks out most is 77. 77 is the number of times in which the team struck out during the home stand.
11 is the average number of strikeouts per game by the Cubs hitters during the home stand.
To put it simply, the Cubs have been struggling to make contact as of late and have fallen into a trend that is becoming all too familiar in today’s day and age of baseball.
After the Cubs struggled mightily to make contact at home, the trend continued on the road last night as the New York Mets struck out 14 more Cubs hitters en route to a 3-2 win. This marked the second straight game in which the Cubs have struck out at least 14 times and the fourth time out of the last eight games in which the team has reached double digit strikeouts.
All of the strikeouts that have been piling up surely must be eating away at the front office as they are big believers in on-base percentage and taking walks which the Cubs have not been doing as of late. During the seven game home stand, the Cubs took a total of 7 walks. Just to put this into perspective and show how astronomically low this walk rate is, on August 10th Melky Cabrera of the Toronto Blue Jays walked five times in one game. Granted it was a 19 inning marathon, but still Cabrera took almost as many walks in one game as the Cubs have taken in seven games.
With the promotion of top prospect Javier Baez, it was anticipated that strikeout totals could go up given the fact that Baez tends to swing and miss frequently. However, I do not imagine the Cubs thought that the strikeouts would become such an issue. If the Cubs are to turn things around and try to end the season on a positive note, it will begin first and foremost with the ability to make contact. Making contact is such an essential part of the game as it forces the other team to make plays. If the Cubs are not putting the ball in play, obviously they will not score and will make the game easier for the other team as their defense will not be as stressed.
For now, with the season essentially being a lost cause, it is okay to wait for people to make adjustments and hopefully begin to make much more contact. Pretty soon the Cubs will be in a much better position during this time of year and a trend such as what is occurring now will be a much bigger deal. I guess in that sense it’s better to deal with it now than later, right?