Cubs players hoping to bust out of slump

Cubs players hoping to bust out of slump

PITTSBURGH -- Bryan LaHair got a haircut Saturday and threw away at least two pairs of socks. David DeJesus shaved his mustache and also got a new pair of socks. Hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo has been known to change shoes.

The Cubs were trying to find some magic to help end a 10-game losing streak and also end an extended lack of clutch hitting.

Chicago entered Saturday's game against the Pirates 0-for-25 with runners in scoring position over its last three games, including 0-for-12 on Friday.

"Any time you're in a stretch like this, you're always worried about guys pressing and 'I have to do it,' and you see that a little bit," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Saturday. "We're having good at-bats and then swinging out of the strike zone on 3-2 [counts] instead of letting the next guy do it sometimes. Sometimes you get snake bit a little bit, too. All you have to do is hit the outfield grass and we're not able to do that.

"As long as guys are having quality at-bats -- the job isn't getting done at the end, but the at-bats are getting better," he said.

LaHair said he will try something different every day.

"He's getting to the point now where he's starting to guess along with the pitchers," Sveum said. "You can't do that. You have to get up there and hit. The guessing gets to be a little too much sometimes -- guessing and worrying about what the pitcher is going to do and how many good pitches to hit and all that.

"The thing is, he's not taking his walks," Sveum said of LaHair, who was batting .230 this month compared to .390 in April. "He's not taking his walks now and swinging out of the strike zone and trying to do too much and put all the weight on his shoulders."

It's been tough for the players.

"It's one of those things right now where we haven't been able to get the key hit when we need it," DeJesus said. "We're getting 10 hits a game and we're not able to get anybody in. It's frustrating as a team, but we have to keep working and keep putting our time in the cage and keep trying to get it done out there. We can't press. We have to stay relaxed at the plate and keep focused on our plans."