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Not Even Close

The Cubs went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Sunday, leading commentators to muse that if only they hit a little better in those situations, they'd be a winning team.

And if my grandmother had balls she'd be my grandfather, as the old saying goes.

Just like how the Cubs would have a winning record if the bullpen hadn't blown so many games early in the season. We're so close!

Beg to differ. See, that's what bad teams do. They don't hit with runners on, they blow games late, they hit but don't pitch, or pitch but don't hit . . . they might be good in one phase of the game, but playoff teams are good in at least two if not more phases of the game.

It's not that the Cubs are close to being a contender because of the way they lose games; it's that the way they lose games are indicative of a team that isn't close to being a contender.

Week in Review: The Cubs took two of three from the Rockies before dropping two of three to the Mets. If they can maintain that pace, they'll finish eight games under .500. They can't maintain that pace.

Week in Preview: The Cubs travel to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati this week. The Cubs have been the 16th best draw on the road in all the major leagues this season. That's 14 places above the league-worst White Sox, so there's that.

The Second Basemen Report: Darwin Barney got all six starts last week and managed to leave eight runners on base. For those of you not good at math, that's more than one runner per game. He did manage to draw his 12th walk of the season, though, giving him 73 for his four-year career. For those of you not good at math, that's an average of 18 a season. For those of you not good at baseball, that sucks.

The Not-So-Hot Corner Luis Valbuena, a natural second baseman, got four starts while and Cody Ransom got two. Valbuena used to play for the Indians. In his last season there, he hit .209 with a .227 OBP. That's how the Cubs were able to land him.

Prospect Joshua Warren Vitters, the Cubs third baseman of the future, is hitting .280 with a .333 OBP in Iowa. That translates to about a .209 average with a .227 OBP in the majors.

Wishing Upon A Starlin: Would-be Starlin Castro successor Javy Baez already has 19 errors in 38 games in Daytona, so he'll fit right in.

The Legend of Dioner Navarro: Only one pinch-hit opportunity last week and he failed to homer. The legend is quickly turning into myth.

Deserted Cubs: Tony Campana has his batting average up to .275 with a .315 OBP at Reno. He's heating up, people. (He's also 13-for-13 in stolen base attempts.) Meanwhile, Mark Grace mistakenly described as a former "slugger" as he vows to no longer drive drunk.

Bullpen Bullshit: Kevin Gregg hasn't given up a hit in 10 innings. Be fooled at your own peril.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Secret Gates traded higher this week. Shares of Beer in Arizona fell.

Sveum's Shadow: 8 p.m. Dale Sveum's Five O'Clock Shadow remains three hours past as his team goes .500 for the week but looks like the same old Cubs doing so.

Shark Tank: Smarge's 3.49 ERA may make him a No. 1 in the Cubs' book, but it only makes him a No. 51 among all major league pitchers - tied with Jason Marquis.

Jumbotron Preview: Six thousand square feet of instructions for how to cheer.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2016.

Over/Under: Games until Jeff Samardzija enters a dead-arm phase: 1.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that the Cubs don't have a single prospect who will contribute this year - and maybe not next year.

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

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

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Posted on Jun 24, 2017

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