A team that has a runner on second base with no outs should score about 61% of the time and is expected to average 1.1 runs in that inning. The Cubs, however, have failed to drive in the Manfred Man in 10 of their last 11 extra innings. That includes three opportunities in their last two games and a 13-inning affair in the Bronx that saw them come up empty four times.
They are now 3-8 on the season when going to extras, but they’re only 1-4 with the advantage of having the last at-bat as the home team. Their inability to plate runners in scoring position has become a long-running lament, but it’s now reached a level of futility that even all the Statlers and Waldorfs out there would have a hard time believing.
It would be nice to chalk their recent stagnant up to water finding its level after the Cubs scored six of their first seven free runners on the season. But that still puts them at just 38.9% (7-for-18), more than 22 points lower than average. They’ve scored just 11 total runs in 18 extra innings, nearly nine fewer runs than the nerds say they should have tallied.
Even worse, nine of those runs came in the first six innings, which would be ecin if not for the fact that they’ve now scored just twice over 12 frames of free baseball. The Cubs look like a bad baseball team on the whole in large part because they’re very, very bad at executing in certain situations. Maybe they need the psychologist from The Natural to explain to them that losing is a disease, just like the Bubonic Plague.
Nah, that isn’t going to help a team that had men on second and third with no outs to start the 10th on Monday, a situation expected to net 1.92 runs, and failed to score. Even with one out, that’s worth 1.52 runs on average. Or take Sunday’s game, when Ian Happ was hit by the first pitch in the bottom of the 10th to put the Cubs in a position that should have gotten them around 1.4 runs.
I know it’s easy to sit back and say this is just what they’ve been for the last few years, but why have they been this way? Even an otherwise bad team should be able to make more of its chances than the Cubs have, and it’s not as though they’ve kept the same personnel the whole time. I really don’t get it, but maybe you have some ideas.