<
>

Run production a Cubs concern

CHICAGO -- Although the Cubs appeared content with winning their first series of the season, run production continues to be a sore subject for the team. The seven runs the Cubs scored in the three game series – including just a single run in Wednesday’s loss -- was less than the 3.4 runs they have averaged in the season’s first 18 games.

“It seems we are in a dog fight every night,” said Bryan LaHair whose solo home run accounted for the only cub run on Wednesday. “We are trying to score as many runs as we can (for the starters) and some nights a lot of runs have scored. “

It may seem that the Cubs have had some strong offensive outbursts to LaHair, but the fact is the team has only had four games in which it has scored more than four runs so far this year.

Manager Dale Sveum has his own theory as to why his club -- and the league in general -- has had run-production problems.

“There is much more velocity than we have seen in the past,” Sveum said. “People are turning guys like (Lance) Lynn into starters like we did with (Jeff) Samardzija, so there is more velocity with starters, and coming out of the bullpen, you see a lot more velocity than you did 5 or 10 years ago. That makes hitting a lot more difficult.”

The Cubs are down more than a half a run a game – albeit with a small sample size -- compared to the four runs a game they averaged in 2011. The club was outscored by 102 runs over the course of the previous season.

“Our first series win was nice, but we have to swing the bats a little better.” said Sveum “We need to score more runs and get bigger leads to be able to hold on.”

The Cubs’ scoring challenge will be even greater as they face the Phillies and ace starter Roy Halladay to begin a four-game series in Philadelphia this weekend.