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Garbage In, Garbage Out

It shouldn't surprise anyone that the Cubs are well on their way to matching last season's 101 losses. After all, it's essentially the same team.

Think about it: Eight of nine starters among position players were starters last year. The only difference is that Tony Campana (and Reed Johnson before him) is out and Nate Schierholtz is in. That's an improvement insofar as Schierholtz is hitting .302 with a .355 OBP, but that's easily cancelled out by the poorer play of everyone else except Welington Castillo if you ignore his defense and only consider his relatively hot bat.

The bullpen is essentially the same, too: Marmol, Russell, Camp and the return of Kevin Gregg to fill out Kerry Wood's role in some weird way.

And while the rotation has exceeded expectations, thanks largely to Carlos Villanueva and Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson looks like the Alfonso Soriano of the Theo era.

It ain't getting better, folks. And if you're not getting better, you're getting worse.

Week in Review: The Cubs split a four-game series against the Padres and then got swept in a three-game set against the Reds. In other words, when the Cubs took three of four from the Marlins, that was about the Marlins, not the Cubs, just like we said. And yet, the Marlins will be back in a World Series before the Cubs, guaranteed.

Week in Preview: The Cubs have an unusual opportunity to add to their unique lore this week by losing to three different teams in three days, as the Rangers drop in for a make-up game Monday night and the Cardinals open a two-game series on Tuesday. This, of course, follows Sunday's loss to the Reds. You pretty much have to root for it to happen.

The Second Basemen Report: Darwin Barney got all seven starts last week and is certainly playing Gold Glove defense, but he's hitting just .159. Which means he's Ian Stewart, whom Dale Sveum just labeled a Triple-A player. So there's that.

The Not-So-Hot Corner On a good team, Luis Valbuena might make for a nice super-sub. On the Cubs, he's part of a platoon with Cody Ransom, who wouldn't make a nice anything on a good team. Valbuena got four starts last week; Ransom got three.

Prospect Joshua Warren Vitters finally made his debut with the Iowa Cubs - as an outfielder. But how will he compete with Dave Sappelt for playing time?!

The Legend of Dioner Navarro: Went 1-for-4 in each of two starts, with 2 RBI. Went 1-1 pinch-hitting.

Dale Fail: Welington Castillo not only stayed in the game after this play, but got the start the next day.

Deserted Cubs: Tony Campana's batting average is up to .229 in Reno, with eight stolen bases in 70 at-bats.

Meanwhile, Brenly.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Empty Threats traded up this week until investors realized what they were buying. Stick with the basic: Urine Troughs will deliver steady returns for years to come.

Sveum's Shadow: 8 p.m. Dale Sveum's Five O'Clock Shadow returns is now in its darkest position of the season. Expect it to be two minutes 'til midnight right around June 1.

Shark Tank: Reds profiting more from Jeff Samardzija than Cubs.

Jumbotron Preview: Six thousand square feet of Jorge Soler destroying a Gatorade cooler as he enters the All-Star break of his rookie year batting .159.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 20167.

Over/Under: Waiver claims this month on players already released by at least two teams: 2.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that if the Cubs ever become contenders again, Dale Sveum won't be around to see it.

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

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

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