Offense getting into swing of things

CHICAGO -- Home is where the hits are for the Chicago Cubs whose offensive revival has come during a long stretch of play at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs entered Saturday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds with a .286 batting average over their last eight contests. Over the previous six games (April 20-25), the Cubs were batting a mere .202.

Five of those last eight games have been at home and the good news for fans who like to see Cubs players starting to circle the bases like a carousel is that there are only three road games between now and May 19.

Leading the offensive charge have been the left-handed bats of David DeJesus and Anthony Rizzo. After opening the first week with a .095 batting average, DeJesus has hit .338 with six doubles, a triple, four home runs and eight RBIs in 20 games.

Rizzo also started slow with a .173 batting average over his first 21 games. Since April 26, though, he is hitting .433, and started the day tied for fourth in the National League with eight home runs.

In fact, the extra-base hits have been coming in bunches for the Cubs. During their eight-game offensive uprising, they have 32 extra-base hits (22 doubles and 10 home runs).

Not everybody is in sync, though, as Darwin Barney still hasn’t got on track after opening the season on the disabled list because of a laceration on his left knee.

Barney has batted just .214 (4-for-13) on the homestand, although his three hits have all been doubles.

Barney is batting just .179 on the season, with a .303 on-base percentage that has been helped with eight walks, fourth most on the team, despite playing in just 16 games. Getting deep into counts, though, might not be Barney’s biggest ally right now.

“He’s been good lately laying off pitches and getting his walks, (but) we all know as hitters there’s that fine line,” manager Dale Sveum told reporters Saturday. “Then balls get too deep and you’re 0-2 and had two really good pitches to hit. There’s a lot of process goes into all this. Hitting the fastball is the No. 1 thing you have to be able to do to be successful in the big leagues.”

Sveum would rather not see Barney tweak with his mechanics so much.

“We all know Barney, he’s always working and trying, but I think he needs and try to stick with one thing and go with that,” Sveum said. “There’s a lot of changing every single day.”