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Pigeon City

Marty Gangler is on a top secret scouting mission this week so I'm filling in until his return. He isn't missing anything. For example:

* Pirates Nip Cubs To Stay In First. Oh wait, that's from 1974.

* Pittsburgh's Power Clubs Cubs, 22-0. Oh wait, that's from 1975.

* Expos Gain, Whip Chicago Cubs. Oh wait, that's from 1978.

* Dexter Fowler Heroics Help Colorado Rockies Rout Chicago Cubs 9-5. There we go. That just happened yesterday.

The Cubs are scuffling at 7-8, a far cry from the .649 pace (24-13) Mike Quade squeezed out of the club last year.

Still, it's early and I find myself even sort of, loosely, in a certain kind of way actually rooting for them if only because I want to see Quade succeed, which is a big change from years past when I went from being a fan to merely acknowledging that this was the (Chicago) team I followed while I rooted for them to lose out of spite for Dusty Baker, Lou Piniella, Jim Hendry and such totally unlikable players like Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano.

Now you kind of root for Darwin Barney and Tyler Colvin and admire the way Marlon Byrd plays the game even though your team isn't a contender if he's your No. 3 hitter and he insists on working with Victor Conte.

Starlin Castro is the next Derrick Rose and even though Soriano is off to a good start it seems like this is less and less his and A-Ram's and even retread Kerry Wood's team. Good. I'd rather see Casey Coleman kick butt.

Nonetheless, Hendry is still around and the Ricketts' are obviously evil so there's still plenty of Cub to go around. The last thing I would want to do is get my hopes up.

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The Week in Review: The Cubs took two of three from the Astros and dropped two of three to the Rockies. They were outscored 37-29 (including a shutout loss in Coors Park) and showed equal parts pitching and hitting proficiency and pitching and hitting ineptness. In other words, they're about a .500 team right now.

The Week in Preview: The Cubs start a nine-game homestand with three at home this week against the Padres and three against the Dodgers. The Rockies come in next week. They will probably go 5-4 and get to .500 before going on the road and sucking.

The Second Basemen Report: Darwin Barney got all six starts last week with Jeff Baker and Blake DeWitt coming off the bench in pinch-hit roles. Baker also got a start at first filling in for the injured Tony Pena. Barney still doesn't have a nickname because his real name is already so, um, nicky.

In former second basemen news, Mark DeRosa may be the odd man out in San Francisco. Hint, hint.

Seller's Remorse: Dusty Byfuglien is the new Mark DeRosa.

The Zam Bomb: Carlos The Cured showed his first sign of cracking this season when he abruptly walked off the mound during a pitching change before Quade could get there - a major breach of baseball etiquette not even tolerated in the little leagues. So while Z pretended to be Apologetic, we think he's Getting Angry and could explode today against San Diego.

zam_apologetic.jpg

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Marlon Byrd Supplemental Report: Conte is now giving Byrd weekly injections of SB-IQ.

Lost in Translation: Fukudome quo statusio is Japanese for Fukudome is still here.

Endorsement No-Brainer: Starlin Castro for Derrick Rose - and vice versa. MVP! MVP!

Sweet and Sour Quade: 95% sweet, 5% sour. It's still early and he's got some young kids figuring out their roles and he's not going to panic early and let his ego get in the way. And just like your smart, well-adjusted uncle, Mike helped his nephews with their homework the other night and told them not to get too upset about their score on the first test because the important thing is their score on the last test.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Between the return of the Cubs to infested Wrigley Field and the return of Blago to the courtoom, trading on Pigeons is strong.

Over/Under: The number of times Carlos Zambrano will apologize this season: 3.5

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that Doug Davis is not the answer.

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

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

Get Your Gangler On: Follow Marty on Twitter.

Note For Readers Used To Seeing The Mount Lou Alert System Here: When manager Mike Quade shows any signs of, well, really anything abnormal, we will be all over it with some kind of graph or pictorial depiction of whatever it is, but until this guy shows something besides just being a normal, thoughtful, intelligent guy, we got next to nothing on him. We are hoping he shows something and kinda hoping he doesn't also, know what I mean?

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