Chicago Cubs Flirting with History: Time to Press the Panic Button?

Ryan WinnAnalyst IJune 18, 2009

CHICAGO - JUNE 17: Mike Fontenot #17 of the Chicago Cubs flips his bat after striking out against pitcher John Danks of the Chicago White Sox on June 17, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Cubs 4-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Chicago Cubs' offense has been called a lot of things over the past few months—scary, awful, woeful, and laughable. When looking at the statistics, people may be missing one word from the Cubs 2009 batting performance:


Heading into Friday's tilt with the cross-town rival White Sox, the Cubs, as a team, were hitting .212—that's a tabulation of every Cubs player that has had a single at-bat this year, including the ghost of Cubs' past, Aramis Ramirez.

When you take away the stats of Ramirez and Jake Fox, their top-two hitters average-wise but with a combined total of 27 games played, their average slips to .198.

That type of number can lead you to believe the 2009 Cubs batters are the worst in history.

In actuality, you would not be too far off.

In fact, the worst batting average in baseball history is .207, "achieved" by the 1888 Washington Senators. The worst in this century was done by the 1910 Chicago White Sox team, posting an average of .212.

Perhaps the most agonizing things for the North Siders is that the Cubs' starting rotation has the league's best ERA, with only Rich Harden (4.53) the only starting pitcher with an ERA over 4.00.

It's simply a miracle that they are at .500, considering the previously stated offensive woes combined with the somewhat pitiful performance from the bullpen.

Thus far, the only pitcher from Chicago's bullpen with an ERA under 3.00 (minimum 15 IP) is Angel Guzman (2.70). Everywhere else, the Cubs have some scary-bad numbers to look at.

Former bullpen ace Carlos Marmol has K/BB ratio is only +1. Closer Kevin Gregg has given up a .248 batting average with a lucky-number of runs and walks, 13. Neil Cotts had as many walks as strikeouts. The short-lived Cubs bullpen pitcher has an astronomical ERA of (not a typo) 135.01 after his 1/3 of an inning of work for the major league club this season.

As these stats were being tabulated, Derek Lee and Geovany Soto went back-to-back with the deep ball to tie the White Sox, proceeding Alfonso Soriano's walk-off single in the ninth.

Maybe it's a turnaround point. Maybe, and more likely, it's simply a small spike in production in a down year.

Prior to that point, the Cubs had one run through seven innings after scoring the same amount of runs in the loss the previous day, looking much like they have throughout the year. As it is, the Cubs sit at 31-31, a far cry from where they were at this point last season.

The numbers don't lie—as of now, this Cubs team is among history's worst.