Baseball Toaster Cub Town
The Inevitable
2005-08-02 07:27
by Derek Smart

Sooner or later, we all knew it had to happen. Some things are unavoidable, like death, taxes, or Aunt Maimie's kisses, and like all these things, we understood that, despite the ridiculously consistent prowess and seeming invincibility, no matter how hard we might wish it otherwise, Derrek Lee would eventually go into a slump.

We are officially in the midst of it, and not surprisingly, it has coincided with a sizable dropoff in the overall productivity of the Cubs' offense. Granted, there are plenty of other folks scuffling at the moment - since July 24th the team as a whole has hit a paltry .250/.321/.373 - but up until now Lee hasn't been personally party to any extended lack of stick-wielding ineptitude displayed by his mates.

This time, however, he's leading the way, as during his last eight games The Savior has finally looked human, hitting .233/.378/.233, and looking mighty uncomfortable at the plate while doing it. But while it's bad news when your best overall hitter and best slugger has only seven singles to his name over more than a week, comfort can be taken from the fact that he's continued to walk - although since four of the seven passes were intentional, it's not nearly as comforting as I'd like.

I can't say I'm concerned yet. It's only a few games, after all, and it's not like there was any reason to believe Lee would go the entire year without looking a little ragged at some point. Still, I sure hope the day off yesterday fixed what ailed him, and the rest of the team as well, because a little regression is understandable, especially as the grind of the season begins to wear a body down, this is a team that can't afford to have its best player less than his best, understandable or not.

2005-08-02 07:32:18
1.   chicagoburke
Nothing like the launching pad in Philly to get the savior back on track...I'm anticipating a big series...

On a similar note...why doesn't he get ANY days off...last year he tired down the strech and it looks like a repeat. Why not parade part of the Todd Squad out to first every now and then to give D-Lee a breather...

On a related note, what are the chances of sending Macias down when Nomar come back and keeping Ceneno...not good but would like to see the resopnse...

2005-08-02 09:13:54
2.   rynox
Seems like lately pitchers have really laid down a good first pitch on the outside corner of the plate. Lee usually watches that pitch and just like that, the pitcher is ahead in the count and when the pitcher is ahead, he's going to see fewer fastballs.
2005-08-02 11:46:07
3.   Sandus
On the bright side, as Batman's numbers are dropping, Aramis Ramirez seems to be heating up. I figure if both of them reach about the same level of productivity for the rest of the year, this team is in good shape. Plus, look for RBIs to increase for both, due to Matt Lawton's eagerness to score and earn himself a big contract next year.
2005-08-02 12:35:14
4.   DLeeFan
The biggest threat to Derrek Lee's run at the first National League Triple Crown in 68 years might be as close to him as a 5-3 groundout. Aramis Ramizez' blistering July finds him 5th in NL homers, 7th in RBIs and 8th in batting average as of Tuesday, August 2nd. Not since Ron Santo and Ernie Banks have the Cubs had anywhere near this kind of production from their corner infielders.

But I still like Lee's chances. Here it is early August and he only trails Carlos Lee by two RBIs, or potentially one swing of the bat, in his quest for the rarest of season honors. He's remained hot all year, and only a recent reluctance to pitch to him has slowed him a bit. I'm showing my support by wearing the cool D.Lee for MVP shirt I found at It also has 3 crowns on the back, so it covers all the bases. GO BIG D!!!

2005-08-02 18:59:44
5.   rynox
LOL, Still think Ryan "I-make-things-interesting" Dempster is a bonafide closer and that Hendry shouldn't have been shopping around for one?

At least he didn't get too rattled. Good to see the offense coming around in the second half of the game.

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