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The Cub Factor

Going back to the middle of last season it was obvious to everyone with half a brain that Dusty Baker had to go. But at The Cub Factor we wondered last week if the Cubs' record would be any different right now if Baker were still the manager. After a computer analysis including such constants as baserunners oversliding bases given to them for free and early-season cold weather, and such variables as the number of players playing out of position and delegating managerial decision-making to the bench, we say No.

Sure, Uncle Lou is a lot more engaging in press conferences and has only used about half the excuses Baker used (so far), but with the talent on this team, one has to consider that the new "accountability" is playing havoc with the team's psyche. Let's break down some players and how the season would probably look if Baker were still the skipper:

* Ryan Theriot. Would be hitting .350 in Triple A. That would be Bad.

* Jacques Jones. Knows he's on borrowed time and either doesn't care or is pressing harder than a virgin on Prom Night. With a more relaxed attitude he helps out more. That would be Good.

* Carlos Zambrano. Would be able to cry and pray without repercussions, thus playing in a more relaxed and divine state. That would be Good.

* Rich Hill. Would be in Triple A demanding a trade. That would be Bad.

* Aramis Ramirez . Would not be hustling and would probably not be hurt (yet). That would be Good.

* Mark Prior. Would have been named the fifth starter instead of Wade Miller. That would be a Push.

So if you take the Good and the Bad you get the Ugly truth. These guys would be the same. It's not that Baker shouldn't have been fired or that Pinella isn't better. It's just that this team has more issues than Time magazine. What might of worked best would have been bringing in Uncle Lou halfway through last season to let him assess the situation and help shape this season's roster. Instead, he's figuring out what he's got - and how his home field works - on the fly, when the games count. But hey, he might throw a base and that's fun.

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In the old days, the answer to the question, "What the hell do you think isn't working?" would have been "Cubs fans."

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Week in Review: The Cubs went 3-4 to bring their record overall to 7-11. They split two-game series' with the Padres and Braves and lost 2 of 3 to the Cards. If they could find a way to just play two-game series' they would be better off.

Week in Preview: The first place Milwaukee Brewers (get used to hearing that) come to town for three. Zambrano tries to right the ship in the opener, yikes. Then it's off to St. Louis for three more with the Cards. Maybe we'll see another Wade Miller-Adam Wainwright matchup; get your VCRs ready.

The Second Basemen Report: Just when you thought it was safe to pencil in Mark DeRosa for the rest of the season, here comes Ryan Theriot knocking the crap out of the ball. Theriot played second in five of seven games last week with DeRosa getting the other two starts. Uncle Lou has seen enough of Theriot in the outfield, though not quite enough of DeRosa, who joins the crowded mass of the defensively challenged. Good times.

In former second basemen news, Jerry Hairston has appeared in 10 games for the Texas Rangers and is hitting .294. He is missed.

Sweet and Sour Lou: 49% sweet 51% sour. Down 4 points on the sweet-o-meter this week due to injuries, poor bullpen pitching, losing more than winning, sliding over bases, and general badness.

Mount Lou: Quite a bit to erupt over this week, but Mount Lou kept his cool. The natives will anger Mount Lou after another series loss to Milwaukee, though, so we're thinking Wednesday afternoon for the next eruption.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A deep statistical analysis shows that Will Ohman is far more likely to pitch well when the Cubs are down by at least three runs.

Over/Under: Mark DeRosa "slumpbusters" this week: 1.5.

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See The Cub Factor in all its season-long glory.

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