Alright, well here we are at the All Star Break and the Cubs find themselves just 4.5 games back of Milwaukee (although they really should be 2.5 or 3.5 back).Â There are lots of reasons to be happy right now as a Cubs fan, but there are reasons to still be nervous (there always will be, really).Â So let’s look at both.
Reasons to be Happy
– We actually look like a real team!Â Like everyone seems to like each other, and for the most part, when one element of the team isn’t working, another one steps up.Â That’s what wins close games, and the Cubs have won quite a few close games recently.
– Lou has definitely started to find his team.Â It took him a couple months, but with Fontenot and Theriot and Derosa in there, it looks like Lou’s managing is really starting to look good.
– Ted Lilly is coming back around.Â He slumped briefly, but he’s come right back and has really looked solid his last couple starts.
– Marmol is good, and has definitely found a permanent spot in the bullpen.
– Though Eyre still blows, Howry seems to have turned it around.Â That’s a big sigh of relief.
– Big Z has proven he’s a stud, and he’s going to have an incredible second half.Â I can just feel it.
That walk off against the Brewers by Aram was the best moment of the season so far.
Reasons to be Nervous
– How long has it been without a home run?Â That’s starting to get a little worrisome, and if we hadn’t been winning recently, it would be extremely worrisome.Â If we can still win without home runs, that’s fine with me, but you still need some power to consistently win for any length of time.Â Soriano hit that one out last night in the all star game, but I could really care less in the end.Â I’d rather he do that first game back after.Â And though D Lee has a phenomenal average and has been hitting doubles like crazy, I am a little worried about how healthy his wrist really is if his homers have dropped this much.Â If this continues, they really need to move Aram into the three spot I think.Â But I’m not really sure.Â I’m just nervous.
– Rich Hill has been terrible.Â Hopefully this all star break will do him some good.Â He needs to be sharp in the second half, or we may not do very well.
– Jason Marquis is inconsistent and untrustworthy.Â I just have a feeling he’s going to give up three homers a game for the rest of the season.
– We’re the Cubs, so you can never really trust any good feelings.
So my only other thoughts are, will the Cubs do anything before the trading deadline?Â I would love for them to dump Jacque Jones somehow, and pick up a left handed power hitter, but I’m really doubting this will happen.Â Lou said that he’d asked Hendry for a right handed power hitter because of how poorly we’ve done against left handers, but seriously, if that right hander isn’t A-Rod, I don’t really see the point.Â We just need our right handed hitters to do better against lefties (and seriously, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, and Alfonso Soriano isn’t enough right handed power?Â It hasn’t been so far, but it should be).
The only other thing I could maybe see them doing is trying to get Griffey, which I would love, but his contract is so backloaded I don’t see how the ownership would let that happen (seeing as how they didn’t even let Jacque go).
When you really think about it, I’m not sure exactly what the Cubs really need.Â They seem to have all the players necessary, we just need them to play well.Â The starting pitching has been surprisingly good, and the bullpen even seems to be coming around quite a bit.Â It wouldn’t hurt to have one more solid bullpen pitcher, and I’m not sure how much I trust Marquis, but I’m not sure we’d really be able to get anyone that would make that worth it.Â I guess a catcher that could hit the ball wouldn’t hurt.
But we’ll see if Hendry has something up his sleeve.
Let’s see if those people who predicted a second half surge by the Cubs were right.