Hendry confident Cubs can turn it around

Hendry confident Cubs can turn it around

CHICAGO -- The Cubs have four players ranked in the top 10 in batting average in the National League. They lead the Majors with a .289 team average since April 21.

Yet in the last seven losses prior to Wednesday, the team has scored 14 runs -- an average of two runs per game. In the Cubs' one win in the last eight games, they scored 14 runs.

What's going on?

"I don't think any of us thought this was the kind of team that would average two runs a game," general manager Jim Hendry said Wednesday. "Offensively, we're certainly better than two, three runs a game. We're in a funk, and there's nothing you can do about it except fight your way out of it."

The Nos. 3-4 hitters, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez, have been the most perplexing. Hendry said he was encouraged by Ramirez's at-bat in the eighth on Tuesday, even though the third baseman struck out. The Cubs lost, 3-2, to the Florida Marlins. Ramirez, who was hitting .159, was not in Wednesday's lineup. A year ago, Lee got on track in mid-May. On Tuesday, he hit two doubles and was batting .220 overall.

"When you're struggling, it gets contagious," Hendry said. "Everybody's trying to be the guy who gets you back on track and gets you over the hump."

"As good as those two guys are," Hendry said of Ramirez and Lee, "they're also human beings and they could be internally pressing and trying so hard to get it going for the team, that sometimes it's hard to get out of."

What's been encouraging is seeing Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Kosuke Fukudome all performing much better than a year ago.

"A lot of the guys who we worried about coming into the season, who are coming off down years are swinging the bats really well," Hendry said. "Aramis and Derrek are off to tough starts. You'd like to think they'll get back to their old selves."

There are no deals pending, no scouts scouring other rosters to find help.

"There really isn't anywhere to look," Hendry said. "I would think our position players are not a weakness at all. We're just in one of these funks where we can't get over the hump and get runs in. It's not for lack of talent or lack of these guys working."

The Cubs began play Wednesday 6 1/2 games back in the National League Central. They're six games under .500 for the first time since June 22, 2007. That year, the team rallied to win the NL Central. There's time.

"We certainly don't have any desire or notion to start pointing fingers or hang our heads and throw in the towel that we're not going to get out of it," Hendry said.