Currently the Cubs stand at 34-54, just 2 1/2 ahead of the Royals and 5 ahead of the Pirates.
So far this season has been a massive disappointment, even when you remember that our expectations were fairly modest. We were all predicting a team just above .500 even with Wood and Prior being written off. So what has happened to us so far?
First of all, we’ve been unable to score runs. As Scott Lange pointed out, the Cubs in early May had an offense that was historically bad. At one point we only had one player with an OPS over .800 that wasn’t on the DL. Our leadoff hitter, Juan Pierre,(who we acquired for 3 pitchers that the Marlins now use) has been so bad that Dusty has put Neifi in the leadoff spot in a few games. To put it simply, our offense is the worst in baseball (yes, I’m including little league teams in this.)
Pitching hasn’t been as bad as the offense, but only because it’s hard to be the worst with Carlos Zambrano being a starter. We’re currently 9th of 16 in the NL in runs given up per game. Prior and Wood, as mentioned above, were not expected to contribute much to us this year, so we can’t blame that. Our bullpen hasn’t been as awful as recent memory, with Eyre, Howry, Williamson, and to a lesser extent Ohman, being solid. Our biggest problem has been that we can’t keep any starters in the rotation. Marshall and Maddux are both just below 5 ERA, but the other 2 spots in the rotation are spread among 6 players other than Wood and Prior, which simply won’t work. Instead of giving a prospect a shot, we’d give one or two starts, then send them down before they could get a groove. We finally filled one with Marmol, but that giving 9 starts to Rusch was insane. It’s the pitching equivalent of replacing an injured Derrek Lee with Neifi Perez, something no organization is stupid enough to….....dammit, nevermind.
The failure of this organization to do anything correctly should be cause for immediate dismissal for Hendry, Baker, and most/all of the coaching staff. Our hitters aren’t developing properly, our pitchers don’t seem to have much control, and injuries just don’t seem to go away (see Wood, Kerry; Guzman, Angel; Prior, Mark). I see nothing that tells me that this team will be putting it together any time soon.