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"Dale Sveum calls it 'mind-boggling' and 'strange,'" the Sun-Times reported this week.
"'Just certain things you can't explain,' the Cubs manager said of his team's persistent inability to turn excellent pitching into victories this season.
"Peppered with questions about so-called clutch hitting, about lineup shuffling, about rethinking his lefty-righty platoon patterns, Sveum engaged the media brainstorming efforts before Thursday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates."
Um, it doesn't take a genius, Dale. Your team sucks - just as designed. It isn't built to win. Didn't you get the memo?
Sveum also became this week the umpteenth manager to claim the Cubs are "snakebit." So no, the culture hasn't really changed.
(Edwin Jackson also says this team is the tightest of all the teams he's been on. And that's a lot of teams. Teams that were expected to win. That's within the manager's purview.)
Finally, Theo said this week that "To be blunt, we haven't made much progress improving the on-base skills of some of the players here."
And on whose shoulders should that rest?
Week in Review: The Cubs lost five straight - three to Pittsburgh and two to the Reds - before beating the White Sox on Monday in the opener of the Worst Crosstown Classic Ever.
Week in Preview: Two more against the White Sox and three against the D-backs. Saturday night is Darwin Barney Bobblehead Night - watch him shake his head No when asked to take a walk.
The Second Basemen Report: Darwin Barney went 4-for-4 last Tuesday and has gone 2-for-22 since, leaving 16 men on base including six on Sunday alone. His OBP is .284 this season and .303 over his four-year major-league career.
Luis Valbuena's OBP over is six-year career is .300, but it's .362 this season. Valbuena is a natural second baseman. With third baseman Cody Ransom hitting .275 (with a .327 OBP) in limited playing time, it would be a nice time to sit Barney if Dale Sveum had any guts, which he doesn't.
The Not-So-Hot Corner Valbuena and Ransom each got three starts at third last week. God, this team is boring.
Prospect Joshua Warren Vitters is not the Cubs' third baseman of the future, no matter what Theo told Ian Stewart.
Wishing Upon A Starlin: Starlin Castro is hitting .272 with a .305 OBP. ""I hit the same, stay aggressive, whoever is pitching," Castro said this week after striking out with the bases loaded and one out on Wednesday. "He threw nasty pitches. I never change my approach."
Um, you're supposed to change your approach, given the situation and the pitcher. With bases loaded, you do not strike out. You make contact. An out in any way - ground ball or fly - could bring in a run. And that's worst case scenario.
Also, why does Sveum bat Castro second? He should either leadoff - despite his OBP he's got speed and he does tend to get a couple hundred hits a season - or push him down to, oh, say, seventh.
The Legend of Dioner Navarro: One start, went 1-for-3 with a walk and left two on base. Just the fact that we're tracking this tells you how unwatchable this team is.
Deserted Cubs: Tony Campana has his batting average up to .271 with a .317 OBP at Reno. He's heating up, people. (He's also 16-for-16 in stolen base attempts.) Just like Mark Grace, the brothers love him. Meanwhile, Bob Brenly says it's time for robo-umps.
Bullpen Bullshit: After giving up a grand-slam pinch-hit, Shawn Camp told reporters that "We're not going to talk about pitches, pitch selection, stuff like that. It's irrelevant." Um, okay. See any good movies lately?
By the way, just because Edwin Jackson has the big contract doesn't mean he shouldn't have been the one sent to the bullpen upon Matt Garza's return. He's got a four-year contract; he's got plenty of time to prove his worth. And presumably he's not in need of showcasing before the trade deadline, unlike every other starter except Jeff Samardzija. Will the Cubs ever have a manager - and management - willing to pull their money out of their mouth and make roster decisions based on merit?
Sveum's Shadow: 8 p.m. Dale Sveum's Five O'Clock Shadow remains three hours past as he settles into a sense of resignation.
Shark Tank: Is there a Kickstarter to fund a haircut yet?
Jumbotron Preview: Six thousand square feet of fuck you.
Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til
next year 2016.
Over/Under: Games until Jeff Samardzija enters a dead-arm phase: 0.
Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that JIm Deshaies is a smart guy but the broadcasts just aren't much fun, particularly given the Len Kasper's cheese. Put Stoney and Deshaies together and you might have something.
The Cub Factor: Unlike Alfonso Soriano, you can catch 'em all!
The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.
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