Three months into the 2013 season, we’ve seen many things happen. We’ve seen quality start after quality start blown by an inconsistent bullpen. We’ve seen the departure of some not-so-popular Cubs players. We’ve seen some bad baseball. Yet, despite all this, the Cubs are still 35-45, only 10 games under .500, with a five-win improvement over the previous season after 80 games. I guess technically Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer did promise incremental improvement, and this sort of qualifies.
I wrote about this the other day on Chicago Now. The problem is that the NL Central just doesn’t suck as much as people believe. Currently, the Pirates are in first place and don’t look to be as fluky as last year. The Cardinals are their normal bizarro good selves, and the Reds are right up there. Three of the four best records in the National League belong to the top three teams in the NL Central. There’s no way in hell the Cubs are winning this division, and a wild card berth is almost as unlikely. The Cubs have improved some, but the rest of the division has as well. It’s just bad timing and bad execution, much like most Cubs games we’ve watched this season so far.
What can we really take from this? Well…after game #80 last year, the Cubs were the worst team in the majors. The Houston Astros would eventually out-tank the Cubs, but yeah, the North Siders were pretty fucking bad. This year? The Cubs actually have the seventh-worst record at 35-45, better than the new standard for shittiness, the Miami Marlins; the majestic tankers, the Astros; the surprisingly bad (even though they kick the Cubs’ asses head-to-head) Milwaukee Brewers; the cross-town rival White Sox; the still-expensive New York Mets; and the team the Cubs just dispatched over the weekend, the Seattle Mariners. I guess the good news is that the Cubs don’t suck as much as last year, AND they are still in line for a protected pick next year should they decide to splurge in free agency.
Hey, there’s always a silver lining. Go Cubs!