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The long and short of it is that it's worse than we feared. Nobody expected winning, or even anything close to it, but who thought it would be this bad? This team is on pace to lose 100 games, for the first time since 1966. That's my entire lifetime, and most likely your lifetime, too. But before we look at this train wreck of a first month. lets consider a few positives:
Our team is still playing, unlike the Blackhawks and (in another two or three weeks) the Bulls.
The prospects at triple-A--namely Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson--are building up their skills and getting ready for their inevitable promotions to the majors.
Matt Garza has emerged as the ace of the pitching staff, and a building block for the starting rotation.
Starlin Castro's legal troubles are behind him now.
Tony Campana is back with a vengeance. His on-base percentage is much impoved over last year, and his speed is making him into a run-scoring threat each time he gets on base.
There are far more negatives than positives, though. For starters, the bullpen gave away the first two games of the season, and also gave away the final game in Philadelphia. A 4-run comeback by the Cubs in tonight's game was a great thing to see, but once again the "nullpen" failed us in the late innings. Carlos Marmol has been a liability all season, and finding a team who wants him may not be an easy task But it needs to happen, and soon.
Marlon Byrd couldn't get going offensively, and was traded to the Red Sox. And then he got going. Doesn't that always seem to happen? Here's hoping he has success in his new environment.
Injuries are already a problem, with Ryan Dempster, Kerry Wood, and Steve Clevinger all on the DL.
The lack of home run production is a big shortcoming. The Cubs are last in the majors with just 9 homers through 23 games. Bryan LaHair has the majority of them, with five on the season, and nobody else on the team has more than one so far.
None of the free-agent pitchers have worked out so far. Paul Maholm has won two games already, but Chris Volstad is 0-3 with an ERA over 6. Pitching wins championships, and so long as Jackson and Rizzo are the apple of everyone's eyes, we're missing what we really need in order to win, and that's pitching.
So as we begin a new month, tell me if you think Jackson, Rizzo, both, or neither will get called up to the majors in May. I don't think either will be, barring an injury to Soriano, but we could see one of the two at Wrigley as early as June.
Any thoughts are appreciated in the comments below.