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"In less than seven months of regular-season baseball since Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Sveum took over, the Cubs have gone from 101-game losers to simply laughable," Gordon Wittenmyer writes in the Sun-Times
"Certainly, there's lots of time left. But whether that's a good thing is in serious doubt the way the team has looked, especially considering that the 5-1 loss to the Brewers, which included three more errors and four unearned runs, was played in maybe the best playing conditions of the season.
"No blaming the cold or the rain or the wind or the facilities at Wrigley or baseball gods, bogeymen or gremlins."
As if those were ever acceptable excuses.
Let's face it, folks: The honeymoon is over.
What Theo & Company promised in return for patience was a young, hustling team that would at least execute the fundamentals. Instead, we're in Year 2 of Hendry Lite, a churn of players from other teams' scrapheaps who aren't even B- or C-listers. They are the dregs.
There is also a bit of Williams Lite going on here with Theo attempting to outsmart the league by claiming underperformers he thinks can be fixed either through rehab (Ian Stewart) or vengeful pride (Kevin Gregg). They can't be.
Theo and first mate Jed Hoyer keep trying to get lucky with other team's injury/head cases and washouts. The latest? Julio Borbon. He's 27 - the same age as Prince Fielder when Fielder went on the free agent market last year. We'll just wait for Borbon to hold down the fort though until Jorge Soler is ready - if he's not suspended for life by then.
And guess what? The Daytona Cubs (7-10) aren't exactly the Ft. Myers Miracle (14-3).
And neither Theo nor Jed is Frank Wren. Which is why the Cubs aren't the Braves. Hell, they're not even the (10-8) Pirates.
Week in Review: The Cubs went 1-4 and narrowly avoided a fifth loss when Wednesday's game with the Rangers was postponed due to weather.
Week in Preview: The Cubs have three in Cincinnati and four in Miami before returning home to close out April against the Padres. That's right, we're still not a month in.
The Second Basemen Report: Brent Lillibridge was designated for assignment but unfortunately that assignment wasn't waiting tables at Denny's, so he's still wearing a Cubs uniform, albiet in Iowa. At guess who is there with him? Alberto Gonzalez was also designated for assignment but his whereabouts are currently unknown. Darwin Barney honored his fallen comrades by going 1-for-17 to open his season upon his return from injury, though he drew two walks to lift his OBP to .158.
In former second basemen news, Bobby Hill was promoted to the Cubs on May 10, 2002. Don Baylor liked his swagger. He is missed.
The Not-So-Hot Corner Luis Valbuena got just one start more than Gonzalez last week, yet Valbuena is the Cubs' designated third baseman. Valbuena is hitting just .217, though his OBP is .345 thanks to a team-leading eight walks. Luis Valbuena, everybody. Meanwhile, the Cubs claimed utility infielder Cody Ransom off waivers and he'll fit in nicely, given that he opened his season 0-for-11 in San Diego. That's right, the Cubs are now taking Padres discards. Also, Dale Sveum told the rehabbing Ian Stewart that he shouldn't hurry back, heh-heh.
Prospect Joshua Warren Vitters hoped to finally open his season in Des Moines this week but apparently is still not healthy enough to suck in person.
Deserted Cubs: Tony Campana is hitting .130 in Reno but you just wait and see. Michael Brenly is in extended spring training. Dad Bob is having a lot more fun with Steve Berthiaume than Jim Deshaies is with Len Kasper. Erstwhile Cub Randall Delgado has a 10.80 ERA in Reno, but you just wait and see. Former Cubs draft pick Eric Hinske is hitting .188 for the big-league club.
Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Theo starting to slump while Hopelessness and Alternate Summer Activities pick up steam.
Sveum's Shadow: 6 p.m. Dale Sveum's shadow is already 3 hours past its 5 o'clock start position; we estimate the thousand-yard state of Baylor, Baker and Piniella to kick in by June. Telltale early signs of dementia appeared this week as he seemed to indicate that Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo could be sent down to Iowa because for some reason they aren't getting the kind of development they need up here with the big-league coaches. Ahem.
Shark Tank: Smardge threw 99 pitches in seven innings this week as he saw his record fall to 1-3, albeit with a 3.38 ERA. He is easily the Cub most likely to destroy the Gatorade machine first this season - if Sveum doesn't beat him to it. Take our ace's at-bat in the fourth inning against the Brewers on Friday with two outs, bases loaded and the Cubs down by a run. He doesn't get cheated! He does, however, swing for the fences at exactly the wrong time instead of just trying to make contact. The result was predictable except that he took the third strike looking after two grand slam attempts. A ground out is better than a strike out in that situation because at least you've given your team a chance to score a run.
Jumbotron Preview: Six thousand square feet of everything you want to know about your 100-losses-a-year Cubs.
Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til
next year 2016.
Over/Under: Old proposition: Games until Carlos Marmol is returned to the closer's role: 12. Which was Under. Way Under. New proposition: Games until Carlos Marmol loses the closer's role again: Kyuji Fujikawa's return +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 five-year plans went out with the Soviet Union.
The Cub Factor: Unlike Alfonso Soriano, you can catch 'em all!
The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.
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