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Did you know . . .
* The Cubs are 30-12 when Len Kasper doesn't make the most obvious pun available during a broadcast.
* English is Dale Sveum's second language.
* The distance from home plate to the right field wall is the same as the height of the new Jumbotron.
* Only 14% of Wrigley Field is now free of advertising or sponsorship.
* Tom Ricketts still lives at home with his father and works part-time at Baskin-Robbins.
* Darwin Barney was once kicked out of a band because he couldn't write a hit.
* More than $400 million of the $500 million Wrigley "renovation" is ticketed for an underground bunker for the Ricketts family should society break down at some point in the next 50 years.
* David DeJesus was raised by wolves.
* Nate Schierholtz weighs 450 pounds but wears a really slimming uniform.
* Starlin Castro's on-base percentage is 50 points higher on nights Dioner Navarro cooks for him.
Week in Review: The Cubs split a four-game series in Arizona and then swept the Giants in San Francisco. Can anyone truly say it's not The Junior Lake Effect?
Week in Preview: The woebegone Brewers come in for four - including a doubleheader on Tuesday - and that means the delusion that the Cubs are suddenly in contention will continue for another few days until the Dodgers come in for four to pop that balloon. Also, the first 10,000 fans through the turnstiles on Saturday will get Kyuji Fujikawa bobbleheads, but the Cubs should really just award Kyuji Fujikawa bobbleheads to the only fans who know who he is - and donate the remaining 9,900 to charity.
The Second Basemen Report: Darwin Barney just went 3-for-29 (which makes him 6-for-40) and left another 14 men on base. He lost another 11 points on his batting average, which is now down to .213, and another 14 points on his OBP, which is down to .260.
How long can this go on?
FYI: Edgar Gonzalez is hitting .293 in Iowa.
Barney also isn't fielding his position particularly well anymore, so there's even less of a trade-off than there once was.
The Third Basemen Report: The Second Basemen Report is so Jim Hendry. The new Cubs regime collects third basemen.
Luis Valbuena is the starter, though he really came up as a second baseman. (That's okay, because second baseman Darwin Barney came up as a shortstop.) Cody Ransom is the backup; he appears to be an actual third baseman. Junior Lake is a third baseman (and a shorstop and second baseman) who apparently isn't good enough to play third base. (He's a Hendry-era leftover, natch.) Mike Olt, the Ranger prospect acquired in the Matt Garza trade, is expected to be the third baseman soon once he gains an understanding of National League rules - at which point Josh Vitters may or may not regain his starting role in Des Moines (where he's hitting .289 with a .372 OBP but still generally sucks). Meanwhile, Javy Baez, now at Double-A Tennessee, is a shortstop who has been projected by some as a major league third baseman. Of course, one point of piling up prospects is to provide trade bait for the theoretical time when the Cubs finally seek out veterans not as stopgaps but as actual long-term contributors. But still, just sayin'.
Wishing Upon A Starlin: Starlin Castro is supposedly "back" but he went just 4-for-17 against the Diamondbacks and left nine men on base in the series. Starlin then went 4-for-13 against the Giants and left another seven men on base. So he's 8-for-his-last-30. Yep, he's back.
FYI: Starlin's OBP is .289.
The Legend of Dioner Navarro: Dioner led off the week with his ninth dong, going 3-for-11 on the whole and working a pinch-hit walk. We predict he puts the Yankees into the playoffs with a pinch-hit home run on the last day of the season.
Mad Merch: We're Not Sori t-shirts.
Deserted Cubs: Sadly, Tony Campana is still in Reno (.281/.342) but he'll be up soon enough. He should have had all those Soriano at-bats the last two years.
Bullpen Bullshit: Kevin Gregg will be gone soon, but his value is nowhere near where it was a month ago - and he was still a huge roll of the dice even then. That means it will be up to Pedro Strop (ERA 7.25 with the Orioles earlier this season) to blow games from here on out. Prepare your "Stop Strop" jokes.
Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Biogenesis in Chicago are flat as no Cub even had the imagination to dope up and help his team. Wherefore art thou, Sammy Sosa?
Sveum's Shadow: Dale Sveum's Five O'Clock Shadow remains at 5 o'clock as he gained a certain equilibrium on his West Coast trip. Also, he found Uncle Lou's secret stash of Old Styles in the cargo hold of the team plane in a box marked "fungo bats."
Shark Tank: Jeff Samardzija has been trying a bit too hard to be a team leader for more than a year now instead of focusing on some changes in his approach that could stave off the otherwise sure-to-come Tommy John surgery and while doing so has proven he's not the coldest beer in the fridge.
In his last start, Samardzija couldn't hold a 6-0 lead, throwing (again) 118 pitches in 5 2/3 innings and (again) burning up the bullpen. He struck out five and walked five.
Jumbotron Preview: Five-thousand-seven-hundred square-feet of Ryne Sandberg being named Cubs manager the day after Theo is fired.
Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til
next year 2015 2016 2017 2016.
Over/Under: Innings Samardzija goes in his start tonight: +/- 6.
Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that at least the Cubs aren't the White Sox.
The Cub Factor: Unlike
Alfonso Soriano Starlin Castro, you can catch 'em all!
The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.
The Cub Factor welcomes your comments.