CHICAGO -- The Cubs' offense has struggled in the early season, scoring just 3.5 runs per game to rank 12th in the National League. It's a malady manager Dale Sveum says a little pop could remedy.
After starting their recent road trip with a 9-5 win at St. Louis, the Cubs dropped the last five games of the voyage, scoring no more than three runs in any of the defeats. Chicago has hit just five homers on the season heading into Friday's game, last in the Majors.
"The record is what bothers you," Sveum said. "Being out of a couple games in St. Louis. Not swinging the bats after the first game in St. Louis with runners in scoring position. Driving the ball. Slugging percentage. We need to drive the ball out of the ballpark to score some runs."
The Cubs rank 14th in the NL, with a .328 slugging percentage and just 17 doubles in 13 games. Sveum says it's not just a problem of getting into hitter's counts, but also taking advantage of those counts when they arise.
"We're a pretty aggressive team," Sveum said. "We're not taking advantage of those situations. If we're going to swing early in the count, that's when slugging percentage happens, is early in the count. We need to get better pitches to hit early in the count if we're going to swing early.
"When we're in fastball counts, [we have] to take advantage of those. Drive the ball to the middle of the field. We did a little bit of that [in Miami]. We were a little victim of that huge ballpark, too, with their center fielder playing as deep as he did."