This team has weak spots, but it is hot and definitely headed in the right direction.
I was expecting the Cubs might contend for the wildcard this year, and they are doing it. Right now they are on pace to win 91 games. With a generally weak schedule the rest of the way, it seems feasible to get there.
I am encouraged. The team is gaining confidence. I love how they elevated the Giants pitch count so badly that only Jake Peavy managed to last just 5 innings this series. Can they remain motivated the rest of the way against a relatively soft schedule? The recent 4 game sweep against the Brewers seems to indicate they realize they need to beat the shitty teams too.
Will have to see if Dan Haren can become a decent 5th starter. Bullpen scares me-don’t trust anyone. Will Schwarber be ok in left field? Montero saved a couple wild pitches in the 9th today that I am not sure Schwarber would have gotten. Fowler has been playing a bit better in CF, but not excited about him. I keep expecting Soler to start putting up bigger numbers soon. Unfortunate that the Cubs couldn’t trade Castro. Hoping LaStella can put up some decent numbers at second when he returns-or Javier Baez after September callups.
Glad the Cubs didn’t give up any high prospects for a rental at the deadline just to possibly play in a one game elimination series. Get a couple free agents to fill in weak spots to play for the division next year.
Will they make the playoffs this year? Anything can happen, but I’m inclined to think they will. There are not any really awesome teams contending for the wildcard. If they were to get in and win the WC, I still see a likely ass-kicking at the hands of the Cardinals-they have to figure out how to beat them.
Some have said this team is like the 2009 Hawks-on the verge of greatness. Or even the 2003 Cubs, which got hot, and overachieved before ultimately choking. Time will tell. However, I think Joe Maddon has them believing that they are the 2015 Cubs and that this is just fine by them. If they make the playoffs this year, I don’t feel that they will have the sense of dread that the 2007 and 08 teams had. None of those guys are here. They are their own team and I think Joe Maddon would bitchslap anyone coming near the dugout with holy water.
This season has been fun-the first time I’ve closely paid attention since 2008. No one expects more than maybe the wildcard, so if they get only that it won’t be too devastating. There is a palpable feeling that this could be the beginning of a several year run of competitive baseball. I’ve been in a deep gloom about the Cubs for several years and am finally a bit excited. Anxious to see how this goes.
Yeah, Cubs look like a front-runner for one of the two wild-card spots. This Giants team might fade away. Their championship contending teams have pitching. Not this year. The Cubs are legitimately better than them. Only team that would scare me is the NL East runner-up, especially the Nats. Both teams have loaded pitching staffs and I could see Nats & Mets getting hot down the stretch.
Schwarber-Rizzo-Bryant should develop into as good a 2-4 (or 3-5) as any in baseball. It’d be great if Baez developed into a serious power hitter behind them, but I’m not counting on it. Don’t forget that Baez is a Jim Hendry draft pick. Soler seems to be getting better.
Offseason priorities should include getting a closer, determining what to do with Fowler and their leadoff situation (free agent this offseason), maybe find another serviceable bat for the bottom portion of the lineup, trade Castro, and investigate options on adding another elite pitcher behind Lester/Arrieta. David Price would be nice. From a long-term standpoint, maybe more important than any of that is shifting focus on the farm system toward adding more pitching. Don’t need to see anymore Dallas Beeler’s. Need some top prospects to groom and have for a long time.
Guys, Thank You all for your insightful comments. I have a lot going on at the moment and really wish that I could contribute more. That said, Nemo went into great detail (please don’t be a stranger).
I, too am enjoying the “new look” Cubs. Anybody who thinks Joe Maddon isn’t making a difference is a fucking moron. So refreshing, regardless of the outcome this season. Just in time, as I was losing interest for real.
Thanks Chucky and Genre, I did post a few times during the Blackhawks run, but haven’t had a longer post in quite awhile I suppose. Normally, I come here to complain and vent, but I am glad to see I am not alone in thinking things are finally headed in the right direction.
I do like Maddon a lot, but am concerned that his personality will become less effective over time, so hoping the Cubs can win in the next 2-3 years. It does help that he is grooming so many young players with his imprint-veterans are more likely to tune out sooner.
In terms of developing more pitching on the farm, it always would be nice. However, there is a glut of pitching now, and I am hoping trading any of our hitting prospects will bring us more bang for the buck in stud pitchers. At least that’s the philosophy now. Hope they are right.
Chucky lets revisit the smadzjia deal ….smardzjia and hammell for addison russell dan strailey and billy mckinney….hammell came back to the cubs ….strailey and neifi perez jr aka valbuenna got flipped to the astros for fowler ….russell enough said and billy mckinney is actually going to be the best piece coming back
Surprisingly, the Cubs still strike out way more than almost every team. However, they are tied for 2nd in BB received this year-compared to 20th last year. Their strikeout to walks received ratio was 3.27:1 last year-it’s 2.66:1 this year.
Although strikeouts are still very high, it usually elevates the pitch count more than ball in play at bats-especially when you consider how many 2 strike pitches the Cubs have been fouling off. When you combine that with the big increase in walks, you can see why so many enemy pitchers are hitting 100 pitches in the 4th or 5th inning and getting removed. Milwaukee’s starter tonight threw 81 pitches in just 2 and 2/3 innings.
The games may take longer, but if the Cubs make the playoffs, the ability to wear out stud pitchers early and often will be invaluable. Sure, bullpens generally have extra pitchers in the playoffs, but asking a bullpen to pitch 4-5 innings every game in a series that goes 6-7 games may make a difference.
Do you slso notice this regime is not bringing up bryant russell schwarber hendricks and sitting them on the bench to learn from a veteran….things i dont miss….those toothpicks….hearing the phrase i know what im doing….or moe every damn time he would do an interview i am working on a few trades nothing is imminent but we are working on a few
It helps that the Cubs didn’t have lots of good veterans, but yeah, Maddon and Theo want the prospects to play. Hendry, Baker and Piniella didn’t trust anyone under 30.
Reluctance to allow the younger prospects to play was a real problem when Pete Carroll coached the USWN soccer team. Jill Ellis wasn’t afraid to piss off some ageing veterans by benching them or reducing their playing time-and you can see how we did in the World Cup this time around.
Nemo! Somebody else who noticed…YAAY! Chicago Red Stars much?
Nice that the Cubs swept the Giants and the Brewers (2x), but I want to see them do better against the Pirates and the Cardinals (and teams with winning records) as well. Go Cubs Go, daddy needs a playoff contender.
Oh, and the Bears’ first preseason game is tonight. Does anybody care?