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If you have kids in this day and age, you know the power of the DVR, on demand, and Netflix. Parents can play tantrum-saving cartoons at any second of the day.
I have boys seven and almost four, and we've found a good overlap with a show called Teen Titans. It's a cartoon that has superheroes at its core, but it's more about the day-to-day interaction of the teenish superheroes than actually stopping crime. And it's silly and clever enough to not be horrendous to watch as a middle-aged man.
Okay, I'm getting to the Cubs tie-in. One of the characters is called Cyborg and he is, um, a cyborg - part machine and part man/boy or whatever. And Cyborg was feeling bad about not having a pet, so he befriended a machine that was once an enemy called Pain Bot. And as much as he tried to reform Pain Bot, it just didn't work; the only thing Pain Bot knows how to say is, "All I know is pain." And that's what it felt like to be a Cub Fan this week. All we know is pain. How about that ninth-inning loss to the Cardinals when they were down to their last strike? All I know is pain. Or how about losing that game to the White Sox despite drawing seven walks by not scoring a single run to lose 1-0? All I know is pain. And while we are at it, how about all those years you've been alive as a Cub fan? All I know is pain.
So yeah, I sometimes watch that Teen Titans episode (it's a fave so we see it at least once a week - don't judge me) and I feel like Cyborg, trying to love something that only knows how to do one thing, inflict pain. So yeah, despite all the goodness of this season thus far and currently holding the second wild-card spot, I feel like the Cubs are going to turn on me with a really big knife or a horrific electric shock, or just a big drill that goes straight through my brain. All we know is pain.
Week in Review: The Cubs split two of four games with the Cardinals and lost two of three to the White Sox for a 3-4 week heading into the All-Star break. I want to say it could have been worse, but it really couldn't have been worse. It should have been a 5-2 week, and those two that got away were bad ones. Bad.
The Week in Preview: Most of the Cubs get a break over the All-Star pause to think about what they've done in the first half of the season. I'm thinking that Chris Coghlan will look back on this first half and think, how in the world am I still in this lineup almost every day? Next weekend the Cubs get back to business with three in Atlanta.
Left Field Report: Chris Coghlan finally got less playing time; two starts, than someone else, then five starts, in left field. The problem was the someone else was Chris Denorfia. Sure, Denorfia's numbers are slightly better this year than Coghlan's, but he is still Coghlanesque. Baseball Reference does a thing where they show you player stats and then list the most similar players throughout the history of baseball to the guy you are looking. Here is Chris Denorfia's list:
1. Alejandro De Aza (975)
2. Terry Whitfield (975)
3. Al Woods (972)
4. Gene Hermanski (970)
5. Brady Clark (970)
6. Mike Kingery (967)
7. Bud Stewart (966)
8. Bernie Neis (966)
9. Chris Coghlan (965)
10. Bob Seeds (963)
Gotta love No. 9. Need I say more? Anyway, the trade talk with the Cubs seems to be around more pitching, but there is almost no way they can't get better with anyone else in left - or even center.
Here, by the way, is Coghlan's most similar list:
1. Alejandro De Aza (970)
2. Fred Lewis (969)
3. Lew Ford (967)
4. Chris Denorfia (965)
5. Al Woods (961)
6. Jimmy Ripple (960)
7. Kiddo Davis (959)
8. Cal Abrams (958)
9. Ernie Koy (958)
10. Terry Whitfield (958)
Denorfia is 4th on Coghlan's list whereas Coghlan is 9th on Denorfia's list. But one thing is certain, they are both De Aza . . .
In former left-fielder news, Augie Galan last played left field for the Cubs in 1941. Galan threw right-handed and began his career as a switch-hitter, but, starting in the latter part of 1943, he became strictly a left-handed hitter until the end of his career. Which is smart if you are clearly better at one side over the other (looking at you, Dexter Fowler). Augie Died in 1993 and also never saw the Cubs win the World Series, like the rest of us. He is missed.
Mad(don) Scientist Big Poppa Joe has at least acknowledged the pantsless bear in the room by talking about the Cubs' lack of offense a bit this week, but he's too classy to say anything different. I think you call that classy. Right?
Wishing Upon A Starlin: Another week and another drop in the numbers. Castro is now batting .247 with a .283 OBP. Do guys lose it at 25? Because it seems like it's lost.
Kubs Kalender: Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant are both participating in the Home Run Derby. And a lot of talk from the blowhards will be about how the resurgent Cubs are led by their position-playing talent. When it's really just the pitching.
Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Pain traded higher this week. They only know how to go higher.
Over/Under: The number of back, back, backs I will listen to: +/- .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 All-Star games should be exhibitions and nothing else.
* Touch 'em all: The Cub Factor archives.
* Know thy enemy: The White Sox Reports.
Marty Gangler is our man on the Cub. He welcomes your comments.