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This week seemed like a test. And not one of those standardized tests that you can opt out of or are unfair for quite a few of the test takers. It was a test to see if this 2015 Cubs team is for real real. Sure, you can look at the standings and see that they are in the mix, but what do your eyes say when they play the division-leading Nationals and the World Series runners-up Royals? Can the Cubs truly hang? And the verdict has to be, yeah, I guess so, maybe. This truly is the Cubs' Year of Maybe. There's just no other way of answering questions like:
* Are the Cubs going to make the playoffs? And if they don't, will it be because they no longer have a third catcher?
* Will the right-field bleachers ever get done? Will right field still suck?
* Will Joe Maddon's puppies-and-sunshine routine give Cubs fans diabetes?
* Will Tom Ricketts ever buy Clark Cub a pair of pants?
* Will the Cubs send Kris Bryant down soon to buy more service time?
* Will the Cubs finally put Starlin Castro on Ritalin?
* Does anyone wanna go to Junior Lake?
The biggest question of all, though, isn't Yes/No/Maybe; it's essay style. How will the Cubs blow it this time?
Week in Review: The Cubs lost two of three to almost everyone's favorite to win the World Series Nationals and then split a two-game series with the equally good Royals. There was a rainout in there as well. Then the Cubs beat up on a bad Marlins team on Monday. Split against the really good teams and crush the bottom feeders really isn't such a bad thing. Maybe that continues.
The Week in Preview: The boys in blue stay in Miami for two more against the Marlins before heading to D.C. for four more with the Nats. Another tough test this weekend against what is no longer your father's Nationals. Which would technically be the Expos.
Left Field Report: As the Second Basemen Report is pretty much useless right now, it's time to look at the next position on the diamond that is completely up for grabs. Sure, Chris Coghlan has been roaming left field for most of the season, but for how much longer? The dude is batting .225 with a .299 OBP and yet started seven of the eight games since last Monday. Junior Lake started the other game, and he is certainly capable of batting .225 as well. Or maybe someone else gets in there? From the minors? From the street? From parts unknown? Time will tell, but it's hard to think it's going to Coghlan's job for too much longer. He should probably be missed.
In former Cub left fielder news, Luis Gonzalez last played left field for the Cubs in 1996. He is currently on a board to help former baseball players who need help, which is good. He is also a big-time Republican, which means he's probably the Ricketts family's favorite ex-Cub. He also cranked out 57 homers in 2001 for the D-Backs and played until he was 40. He is missed.
Mad(don) Scientist: Big Poppa Joe likes to play dress-up. And I guess this is a good look. There's some kind of weird road trip theme thing going on with this trip to Miami - and every other road trip. I just wonder what it'll look like in 2020? And does it get more fun as you go, or does it become a PIA to have to find a yellow slicker and goulashes on the Gorton's Fisherman theme road trip next time the Cubs go to Boston?
Wishing Upon A Starlin: Our favorite Castro finally got moved down in the lineup. And then he hit a homer. And then he had another error - his 12th on the season. So, he kind of responded to the lineup change. Maybe there's a way he can be dropped in the field lineup so he starts playing the field better. I'm not sure how that would work [Editor's Note: Second base? Third catcher?], but I think Big Poppa Joe can figure that out.
Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Edwin Jackson did not trade at all. Because, no one wants to trade for him.
Kubs Kalender: Wine Down Day is Wednesday at Marlins Park. Fans who purchase a VIP package receive a free Marlins wine stopper. But it's the Marlins, so why would you have to use a wine stopper, just drink the whole thing.
East Coast Cubs: Tuffy Rhodes last played for the Cubs in 1995. He eventually found himself in Japan and he was pretty awesome there. In the 2001 season, he hit his 55th homer to tie Sadaharu Oh's Japanese League single season home run record, set in 1964. For the rest of the season, opposing pitchers intentionally walked Rhodes to prevent him from breaking Oh's record. He was shafted, and he is missed.
Over/Under: Number of games E-Jax will get into this week: +/- 1.5.
Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that "Edwin" is a misnomer because Ed does not win.
* 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.
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