Cubs need to pick it up on road

Cubs need to pick it up on road

PITTSBURGH -- Teams should have a home-field advantage, but for some reason, the Cubs are at a severe disadvantage on the road.

Entering Thursday's game against the Pirates, the Cubs were batting .297 with 74 runs scored in 13 home games. That average is tied with the Dodgers for the best home mark in the Major Leagues.

But when they're wearing the road grays, the Cubs are hitting .251 with 59 runs scored in 15 road games. And 25 of those runs came in the three-game series at Milwaukee.

Subtract the numbers from the series against the Brewers on April 23-25, and the Cubs were hitting just .220 on the road. Chicago is 6-9 on the road so far and scored two runs in each of the first two games of the three-game series against the Pirates.

"Every year, we talk about the same thing," shortstop Ryan Theriot said Thursday.

Is it bad room service? Are they homesick?

"Maybe we get too much sleep on the road?" Theriot said. "I don't know."

"Teams usually play better at home," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "But the disparity in our offensive numbers, I don't really have an answer for it. I know when the wind blows out at Wrigley, it's an inviting park to hit in. We have to find a way to score more than two runs on the road.

"Except for the Milwaukee series, we've done that quite a bit -- too many times," said Piniella, whose team has scored two runs or fewer in eight of the 15 road games. "It's just too hard to win on the road with two runs.

"I wish I had an answer," he said. "When the middle part of our lineup hits, we'll get better in a hurry."

The Cubs' offense has not been consistent and they've wasted several solid outings by their starting pitchers. Chicago starters have 18 quality starts out of the 28 games so far, and the team is 9-9 in those games. The starting pitchers have a 1.94 ERA in those 18 games.

"When a pitcher goes out and gives you seven innings of three-run ball, that's a nice performance," Piniella said. "You want some dominating starts but you want quality starts. You get quality starts and there's nothing to complain about."