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posted: 5/6/2010 12:01 AM

Piniella sees progress but wants consistency

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PITTSBURGH - Despite some of the Cubs' recent hitting woes, manager Lou Piniella says the offense is better than it was in the one month since Opening Day.

Piniella was asked if he'd step in and help out with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo.

"Rudy's doing a real nice job," Piniella said. "Our hitting, basically here as a whole, has improved a lot since the start of the season. The only thing we lack is the consistency factor. If we can ever get the consistency factor, we're going to be just fine offensively. But we have gotten better since the start of the season."

In their 3-2 loss to the Pirates on Tuesday, the Cubs scored both of their runs via the homer. When they needed just a basehit to break an inning or two open, they couldn't get it.

"Power doesn't come to the ballpark every day," Piniella said. "If the conditions change or the wind blows in, the parks get a little bigger. That's why you need to at least manufacture a certain percentage of your runs."

Not a good place: Lou Piniella said he agreed with the self-diagnosis made by third baseman Aramis Ramirez of his hitting problems.

Piniella moved Ramirez from fifth to sixth in the lineup Wednesday. Ramirez said he was "late on the fastball, early on the breaking ball."

"It's timing," Piniella said. "I read a few of his comments. He's right. It's called 'in-between.' That's not a good place to be. I think every hitter at some point in his career gets into that situation. It's a question of working yourself out of it."

No-win situation: Lou Piniella had a feisty response to questions about his lineup changes.

"You know what the amazing thing is?" he asked. "When you lose baseball games, the manager gets questioned. If I stayed the same for the next 15 games, the first thing I'd be asked is, 'Why in the (heck) aren't you doing anything?' Look I understand the whole process.

"I'm not going to win regardless. I recognize that. I've been this for 23 years, and I recognize the fact that I'm not going to win. If I did nothing, it's, 'Why haven't you done something?' And if you do something, it's, "Why did you do something.' So what the (heck's) the difference. It's the truth. The question is you need to win baseball games. Then you won't get asked questions."

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