10/04/08 9:20 PM ET
Cubs hitters need answers at plate
Batting .222 in series, team may be trying to do too much
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
"During the season, you're not going to win if you score 11 runs in five games," Lou Piniella said Saturday.
The Cubs hoped to get the offense going in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They entered the game batting .222 as a team.
"We've gotten away from doing some of the things we've been doing during the year," Cubs hitting coach Gerald Perry said. "I know we have to start taking the ball the other way. I think we got a little too pull conscious."
Piniella recalls an at-bat he had in Game 3 of the 1981 World Series between his New York Yankees and the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The Yankees had won the first two games at Yankee Stadium and were facing Fernando Valenzuela.
"I'm hitting fifth with a couple men on and we already had a run in and we have a chance to put them away here," Piniella said. "I get 3-1 in the count and I said, 'I want to hit a home run,' instead of a double to right-center, and I hit into a nice double play. That's trying to overdo and not staying within yourself. Maybe we're doing a little bit of that."
The Dodgers won that game, 5-4, by the way, and rallied to win the series, 4-2.
During the regular season, the Cubs batted .278 and led the National League with 855 runs. That's the seventh highest run total for the team in the 133-year history of the franchise. They can hit with runners on.
"I don't know if it's trying too hard, I don't know if it's trying to do too much, I don't know if it's the opposition pitching, I don't know if it's the scouting on our players," Piniella said. "I don't know if we get cold at the wrong time. I do know that with 11 runs in five games it's hard to win."
The Cubs can't change their approach now and try to play small ball.
"We don't have that type of team," Piniella said. "We have a team that hits home runs, has got some power. We don't have all that much speed in the lineup. ... I said we were going to hit and run in this series, but we've fallen behind so early."
He has repeatedly said the Cubs shouldn't feel any pressure.
"To me, pressure is when you have doubt," Piniella said. "When you have doubt and lose some confidence, that creates pressure. If you're nice and relaxed and trust your abilities and you play, somebody's going to win and somebody's going to lose."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.