2012 Cubs sorely lacking power

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2012 Cubs sorely lacking power

As the old saying goes, chicks dig the longball. I guess that must mean the Cubs aren't very attractive right now.

Last season, the Cubs hit 148 homers, good for 20th in the MLB. They entered 2012 without Aramis Ramirez or Carlos Pena on the roster, who combined for 54 homers in '11.

In their place are Bryan LaHair and Ian Stewart. The former hit 38 homers in 129 games in Triple-A in 2011, but had just 195 major league at-bats before '12. Stewart hit 53 homers for the Rockies from 2008-10, but didn't have any last season in 136 plate appearances.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that the Cubs are not trotting around the bases often this season.

But did anybody expect just five homers in the first 16 games? Even the Pirates have seven dingers, and their offense has been historically bad to start the season.

Heck, there are even single players that have as many or more homers than the entire Cubs team. Check out the list:

--Dodgers OF Matt Kemp: 9
--Rangers OF Josh Hamilton: 7
--Yankees OF Curtis Granderson: 6
--Rangers C1B Mike Napoli: 6
--Cardinals OF Carlos Beltran: 5
--Twins OF Josh Willingham: 5
--Orioles OF Adam Jones: 5
--Orioles OF Nolan Reimold: 5
--Orioles C Matt Wieters: 5
--Cubs AAA 1B Anthony Rizzo: 7

Yep, that's right. Anthony Rizzo, one of the Cubs' top prospects, has more home runs by himself than the entire roster of Cubs players in 16 games.

Cubs batters have had 528 at-bats so far this season, which means they are hitting a homer once every 100 ABs.

Wow. Though, maybe that just means they're due and we could expect five home runs alone tonight.

Today on CSN: White Sox face Athletics in spring training game

Today on CSN: White Sox face Athletics in spring training game

The White Sox will battle the Oakland Athletics today, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins at 3:05 p.m.

Today's starting pitching matchup: Carlos Rodon vs. Kendall Graveman

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Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Stars: Another slow start but better finish

It wasn't pretty, but the Blackhawks found a way to pick up another two points and improved to 6-0-1 over their last seven games, and 18-3-1 over their last 22.

With Minnesota's loss to Philadelphia, the Blackhawks have taken an eight-point lead for first in the Central Division and are only two points away from the Washington Capitals for home-ice advantage throughout the entire Stanley Cup playoffs.

Let's take a look at Quick Hits from the 3-2 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night:

What Worked: The finish and shootout. While the Blackhawks scored the game's first goal, it was another slow start by a team that has had a few of those over the last several outings and has preached working on turning in more of a complete effort. They recorded only 14 shots on goal in the first two periods, and it took more than six minutes after Patrick Kane's goal to record their next one.

But they finished on a positive note yet again, and went 2-for-3 in the shootout thanks to Kane and Artemi Panarin, who potted the game winner. Kane said after the game that he tried his move on Scott Darling during morning skate and it worked. So he went with it tonight in an effort to snap a mini shootout drought and he did.

What Didn't Work: Controlling the puck. The Blackhawks seemingly have the puck more than their opponent does almost every game, but it doesn't reflect in the shot department because they often look for the perfect pass or shot and fail to record one at all. They had 50 shot attempts with 26 of them on goal compared to the Stars' 64 attempts with 44 on goal. They know they must get better at that.

Star of the game: Corey Crawford. After allowing four goals on only 10 shots in Tuesday's overtime loss to Vancouver, the Blackhawks netminder bounced back in a huge way. He matched a season-high with 42 saves, and recorded his 30th win of the season.

He Said It: "He played amazing tonight. Reason we won the game. Hats off to him, he's done that a lot this year. For a goalie it's probably tough to show up every night, even the goals he let in last game you can't put all the blame on him, but he was outstanding tonight." — Kane on Crawford's performance

By the Numbers:

167 — Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked one shot in the win, and it was enough to set a new career high in that department, previously established during the 2010-11 campaign (166).

15 — Trevor van Riemsyk assisted on Marian Hossa's goal in the third period, giving him a career-high 15 points on the season in 50 games. He had 14 points in 82 games last year. He also extended his point streak to three games.

6 — With the victory, Crawford has earned at least 30 wins in six of his seven NHL seasons as a full-time starter. The only time he didn't reach that mark was during the lockout-shortened year in 2012-13 when he went 19-5-5.