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Cubs Don’t Score When It Matters Most

By bullpenbrian at 06.02.2012 Leave a comment.

The Cubs have scored more runs in the ninth inning than any other frame this season.

It happened again Friday night when Alfonso Soriano hit a three-run shot in the top of the ninth to pull the Cubs within one-run of the Giants.

But as has been the case for much of the season, it was too little, too late with San Francisco holding on for a 4-3 victory. (Continued after the jump)

Inning

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

x-I

Total

Cubs

23

13

18

26

16

13

19

21

37

2

188

OPPS

32

18

31

23

24

31

19

36

19

2

235

Why Do The Cubs Score So Late?

The truth of the matter is the Cubs, having been outscored by a whopping 47 runs this year, are regularly trailing on the scoreboard heading to the late innings—and often by comfortable margins for the opposition.

It’s allowed opponents to trot out their second-tier relievers to mop-up the victories, or given closers an opportunity to grab some work in-between save chances.

Of course it’s not unusual for teams to lower their guard with a comfortable lead, and all good pitchers know throwing strikes is most important when given plenty of run support.

That’s been to the Cubs advantage late in the contests, but does little to increase the consistency of winning games.

Why Don’t The Cubs Score Earlier?

The general idea of all clubs is to strike early against the opposing starter, force him out of the game and feast on the lesser arms in the bullpen.

The Cubs, for obvious reasons, have simply not been able to execute this basic strategy—that is until the ninth inning against lesser pitchers who are pumping strike after strike with multiple-run leads.

To further illustrate the point, the Cubs (18-33) have trailed heading into the ninth inning 30 times. They’ve won just three of those contests.

On the contrary, when the Cubs have scored first in a game they post a winning record of (11-9), and a (14-1) mark when taking the lead into the ninth inning.

It’s wonderful the Cubs are showing strong character to fight back and score late, even when trailing by large deficits. But it would mean so much more if Chicago could actually score more runs when it mattered most–before the ninth inning.

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