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Finally Below Average

At least this week the Cubs are no longer .500.

Cub fans can finally be angry that the team has lost more than it has won. And that is important.

With few expectations coming into the season with this team, you would have to feel pretty good if they kept playing .500 baseball.

So they aren't even average now, and you can really begin to dissect what the issues with this team are and complain about them.

And it comes at a good time because I was beginning to like this plucky team just a bit too much. They were pulling me in.

The hope that Fukudome would play like he plays in April all season. The desire to have a real second baseman finally in Barney. The need to have Soriano worth the contract for just one year. The expectation that when you pay a first baseman 10 mil a year so he can hit his weight and not have the bunt be his best option.

Okay, sure a bunch of these wants, needs and desires are actually possible (except for the first baseman part) but even if they play out the same way it has been going, this team is already under .500 with a whole bunch of things going right. They just aren't that good.

And little good comes from over-liking an average team.

So thanks, Cubs, for giving us a taste of who you really are and not letting us think you are something else. It's good to be entertaining and likeable but it's better to be good.

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The Week in Review: The Cubs went 2-4 for the week, losing two to the Rockies - Mother Nature did the Cubs a favor and rained out the final game - and split a four-game set with the D-backs. It was a great time for a rainout against the Rockies; it's just too bad it was nice enough to play the first two games.

The Week in Preview: The Cubs try not to get beat up as they head to Dodger Stadium for three and then come home to welcome good ol' Dusty Baker and the Reds for a three-game weekend series. Come to think of it, maybe a few of them could use a good knock in the head. Yep, looking at you, Dempster.

The Second Basemen Report: Darwin Barney started five of the six games this week and continues to be the go-to second sacker. It may stay this way as Jeff Baker has emerged as your best first base option. Which is surprising because there were 10 million reasons the Cubs thought Carlos Pena was supposed to be much better than Jeff Baker. You know, just like Jim Hendry drew it up.

In former second basemen news, Blake DeWitt is still on the Cubs roster. He has 19 at-bats for the season yet was supposed to be the starter, so he is missed.

The Zam Bomb: Big Z had a good outing this week and should be back to Apologetic. But we know that he is still secretly Getting Angry. We are banking Furious before we get out of May. A Starlin Castro four-error game is around the corner with Big Z on the mound, don't be fooled.

zam_gettingAngry.jpg

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Marlon Byrd Supplemental Report: Vic Conte is now giving Byrd weekly injections of "somewhat regrettable acquisition."

Lost in Translation: Insaneo but coretiomundeo is Japanese for The Cubs really miss a healthy Jeff Baker in the lineup.

Endorsement No-Brainer: Carlos Pena for nothing. Because if you want nothing, no one is better.

Sweet and Sour Quade: 92% sweet, 8% sour. Down four points this week due to just being angry that his team is just not better and getting thrown out of a ballgame when you knew you were wrong. Just like your smart, well-adjusted uncle who calls a family roundtable right away to clear the air so disputes between cousins don't fester.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of the company that makes Lame Excuses are expected to trade higher this week - to coincide with Dusty Baker getting back in town.

Over/Under: The number of Cubs regular position players who will finish May batting over .290 (there are currently 5): +/- 2.5.

OVER/UNDER FOLLOWUP: The number of Cubs regular position regulars who will finish May batting under .167 (there is currently one): +/- 2.5

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that entertaining and likeable do not win ball games.

The Cub Factor: Unlike Soriano, you can catch 'em all!

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

Get Your Gangler On: Follow Marty on Twitter.

Note For Readers Used To Seeing The Mount Lou Alert System Here: When manager Mike Quade shows any signs of, well, really anything abnormal, we will be all over it with some kind of graph or pictorial depiction of whatever it is, but until this guy shows something besides just being a normal, thoughtful, intelligent guy, we got next to nothing on him. We are hoping he shows something and kinda hoping he doesn't also, know what I mean? BUT HE IS GETTING CLOSER . . .

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