The Cubs will finish their seemingly endless road trip this weekend in Milwaukee, and they'll go into it as the worst team in baseball.
Their 19-32 record has them on pace to finish 60-102. This isn't surprising, given the roster team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer handed to field manager Rick Renteria.
Cubs scouting reportCubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park
TV: WGN Friday and Sunday; Comcast SportsNet Saturday
Radio: WGN 720-AM
Pitching matchups: The Cubs' Travis Wood (5-4) vs. Marco Estrada (4-2) Friday at 7:10 p.m.; Jason Hammel (5-3) vs. Wily Peralta (4-4) Saturday at 3:10 p.m.; Jeff Samardzija (1-4) vs. Kyle Lohse (6-1) Sunday at 1:10 p.m.
At a glance: The Brewers are trying to hold off the Cardinals in the NL Central. This is the Cubs' second foray into Miller Park this year and their third series overall against the Brewers. Each team has won two of three at home. Jonathan Lucroy has a line of .326/.397/.481 to pace the Brewers in average and OBP. Carlos Gomez is at .323/.394/.594, and he leads the Brewers in hits (62) and RBI (30). Mark Reynolds leads in homers (12). The Brewers are 16-11 both at home and on the road. They entered Thursday ranked third in homers, fourth in slugging and sixth in ERA (3.34). The Cubs are struggling offensively as they ranked 12th in runs, 14th in OBP and 13th in slugging. Their ERA is 3.55. This marks the end of a 10-game road trip for the Cubs, who are in the midst of 20 of 26 away from home through June 18.
Next: New York Mets at Wrigley Field, Tuesday-Thursday
-- Bruce Miles
The pitching has been good, but this is a team full of fourth and fifth outfielders, and when top players Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo aren't hitting, it's a struggle to score runs.
The Cubs finished two series in pitchers parks at San Diego and San Francisco scoring a total of 20 runs over seven games and getting shut out in each of the final two games against the Giants.
It has been a rough road trip for many Cubs. Let's take a few snapshots:
Castro: The shortstop is 4-for-27 on the trip, and he entered Wednesday's game on an 0-for-17 skid. Castro has started all 51 games so far, but he may get a breather for one game this weekend against the Brewers.
After entering May a .308 hitter, Castro is at .272 after putting up a hitting line of .235/.284/.412 so far this month.
Rizzo: The best thing about Rizzo's approach is that he entered Thursday's big-league action third in the National League in walk percentage (16.9), behind Joey Votto (19.1) and Andrew McCutchen (17.7). Rizzo has drawn 38 walks, and he has struck out 38 times.
His May line is .244/.384/.411. He is 6-for-25 on the trip.
Mike Olt: The people's choice at third base, Olt is 1-for-18 on the trip, and his season line is .168/.241/.408.
Olt does lead the team in home runs (9), but he has struck out 49 times in 141 plate appearances, and his walks-to-strikeout ratio is 0.22 (11 walks, 49 strikeouts).
Junior Lake: If you thought Olt has a bad walks-to-strikeouts ratio, Lake's is 0.13, thanks to 7 walks and 54 strikeouts. Lake is 5-for-23 on the road trip, and his season line is .264/.293/.459.
Emilio Bonifacio: There was no way Bonifacio was going to keep up the torrid pace he set at the beginning of the season. However, he enters the weekend 3-for-23 on the road trip. During May, Bonifacio has put up a line of .204/.253/.301 after going .337/.385/.406 in March/April.
The new Manny?
The Manny Ramirez apology tour continued in Boston on Wednesday for a reunion of the 2004 world champions.
The Cubs recently signed Ramirez as a player-coach at their Class AAA Iowa affiliate. Ramirez was suspended twice as a player for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy.
During his career, he also engaged in some erratic and sometimes violent behavior, such as the time he shoved the Red Sox' traveling secretary to the floor.
The Boston Globe and other outlets reported this week that Ramirez apologized to the traveling secretary, Jack McCormick.
"Yes, yes, yes, I went and spoke to Jack," Ramirez was quoted as saying. "I apologized to Jack. I said, 'Jack, I want you to forgive me because it was my fault. I behaved bad here with everybody. I want you to forgive me.' He said, 'Manny, thank you. I was waiting for that.' "
Ramirez said he has found religion.
"To be honest, I've been in church now for almost four years, me and my wife," he said. "Now, I realize that I behaved bad in Boston. The fans, they were great. I also played great when I was over here. I really realize that I behaved bad. I apologize for that, but I'm a new man."
Epstein was the Red Sox' general manager for much of Ramirez's stay in Boston. Now Cubs president, Epstein said Ramirez is not being considered as a player for the Cubs but as a coach and mentor for the young hitters in Iowa.
Ramirez seemed grateful.
"I knew God put it on (Epstein's) heart," Ramirez told the Boston media. "So then he called me to give me the job. I wasn't surprised."
Ramirez was one of the hardest-working hitters in baseball during his playing days. Former Red Sox players at this week's gathering told reporters he could be a good coach.
"Manny's been through a lot in his career, and he has a lot to offer to a lot of players," said Trot Nixon. "Manny was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, right-handed hitters I've ever seen.
"There are a lot of things that I learned from Manny that I try to pass on to kids, simplified. One thing especially I remember is he talked to me about getting your hands in launch position to swing. I still use that to this day.
"Manny has things to say that young men can learn from to become better players. If they don't use that resource, then shame on then."
Tearing it up:
It may be time for the Cubs to promote third-base prospect Kris Bryant from Class AA Tennessee to Iowa.
Entering Thursday, Bryant had a hitting line of .349/.452/.667 for an eye-popping OPS of 1.119.
He has 15 home runs, and his 44 RBI were 1 short of having him lead the Triple Crown categories in the Southern League.
Bryant entered Thursday 40-for-97 (.412) with 10 homers in May.
The Cubs drafted him in the first round (second overall) last year.