your 2011 Chicago Cubs
Where were we? Where are we?
things that are actually really good:
– the pitching! Probably four above average starters and possibly the best 7-8-9 bullpen in the league.
– the lack of injuries (only Angel Guzman, and that was an issue from last year, and no one even counts him any more because it’ll be a miracle if he makes it back)
– the Brewers and the Cardinals having very important injuries
– Carlos Silva will never be a Cub again. SUNK COSTS, hooray.
– a manager who might do some actual platooning
things that are worrisome
– 2B may be an offensive black hole.
– they’re writing “now that Soriano is healthy, he’s going to hit!” articles for the fourth year in a row
– there’s almost no depth on this team; if Ram, Soto or Pena get significantly hurt, the season is over, and you might be able to throw Byrd and Castro in that group
– there’s no hitting coming off that bench. Colvin/Fukudome is the big bat off the bench, with Koskue (& Baker) only helpful in the right situation. Reed is not much. DeWitt almost played his way off this team. Koyie Hill is awful. If there was ever a team that could use a Houffpair/Fox type as a designed pinch hitter, it’d be this team (taking the place of DeWitt, who has no purpose here.)
– at least three guys – Grabow, Samardzija, DeWitt – probably don’t make the team if they weren’t already being paid decently for this year. If one turns out, it’s a big win.
things that have totally suprised me
– the many publications who have the NL Central as a four team race. Usually a bad four team race, usally with the Cubs 4th, btu somehow the Cubs haev gained ground mostly on everyone else being worse.
I really don’t understand it. Even with a bounce back year from Ram, a better bullpen and better results for guys like Wells, this seems a below average team without a strong offensive identity. Last year, I had the team at 80. They won 75. I’ll guess the recovery gets them back to 80, but this doens’t seem like a playoff team without multiple people having breakout years and it doesn’t feel like that’ll happen.
Last year, I had a feeling of dread, of the bottom falling out on this run. I don’t have that this year, but it hasn’t been replaced by any excitement. It’s a team. They’re going to play 162 games, that’s the only part I feel confident about.