Dale Sveum was in Milwaukee earlier this week, as the Cubs were victims of a three game sweep by the Brewers at his old place of employment. Leaving the Crew (after serving as interim manager in 2008 for seventeen games,) Sveum is now trying to keep a young Chicago team from dropping one hundred games for just the third time in franchise history. With just under forty games remaining in the season, that goal is reachable. Just sixteen wins would keep them out of the “100 Losses” club. The first year manager says that he is much more concerned with improving the team play by the end of the season and into the next than he is with his final record.
For the Cubs, there was certainly room for improvement during the team's opening game of the series at Miller Park. Starting pitcher Justin Germano ducked out of the game after giving up three runs in the first two-thirds of the fifth inning, leaving bullpen rookie Jeff Beliveau with a five run deficit. The young leftie would throw just a couple of pitches before Johnathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez hit back-to-back homers, combining for four runs.
Sveum's offense has also been affected by the rookie overhaul of the team's roster. That was evident again during the team's Monday loss to the Brewers. Anthony Rizzo has been the only Cubs newcomer to produce this season, but his output has slacked in August. While he continues to make his it on base, Rizzo can’t get guys to move him over. He has just one homer since the end of July. That shot came against the Dodgers on August fifth, the same day that Josh Vitters was called up from Triple-A, hoping to add some more power to Sveum's lineup. Vitters came in cold since joining the team in Chicago, and went hit-less in his first two at-bats on Monday. Though he did give some hope to Cubs fans, when hitting his first major league home run off Mark Rogers in the fifth. Sveum told reporters after the game that he thinks Vitters will be an important part of the team's batting game in 2013, mentioning the rookie's bomb as a hopeful sign of improvement.