Before I start, let me point out that I’m sitting in my room listening to Pat Hughes call the Angels’ shellacking of our beloved Boys in Blue. But I’m still an eternal optimist, and if I need to look at current trends to feed that optimism, then so be it.
Last year at the All-Star break, the Cubs were 33-52. Barring a dozen runs in the next 2 innings tonight, they’ll be 40-49 with a 4-game set at Wrigley with the Cardinals left until the break.
Admittedly, not all trends are so promising, Starlin Castro is struggling to get his bat going in 2013, and no Cub with enough at bats to qualify is hitting better than .262 (Soriano of all guys, go figure), but Nate Schierholtz has been outstanding in the first half, and I honestly see some good things out of Rizzo as well.
Aside from the offense showing some (albeit miniscule) signs of life, the Cubs farm system is building some serious strength, with 3 of the top 20 prospects in baseball signed. And who can forget about the rotation?
If you count Carlos Villanueva, the Cubs currently have 3 starting pitchers with ERA’s below 3.50, with Samardzija’s at 3.54 and headed North after tonight, and the recently-traded Scott Feldman sitting at 3.46. If you discount Edwin Jackson (I’m convinced he’s the reincarnation of the Soriano contract, veteran star overpaid and scuffling, but I digress), this rotation has been one of the best in the majors. Poor Travis Wood has a losing record with a sub-3 ERA. If not for our pen, we would have a shot at a real winning record (GASP)
But even that bullpen has its bright spots, Kevin Gregg converted a dozen straight save chances before blowing one, we’ve finally rid ourselves of Carlos Marmol, and James Russell has been his typical rock-like self with an ERA of 2.94.
So in spite of the 13-2 loss that just went final, have faith Cubs fans, in the words of REO Speedwagon, I believe our time is going to come. And it will come sooner rather than later. I think this can be a .500 team in 2013, and at least a wild-card contender in 2014. Believe in Theo, Jed, and Dale.Nobody said this process was going to be easy, but at least we’re surely on our way. The part where it gets worse is past, now it’s going to get better.
Kid 20 K