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As we hit the All-Star break this week, it's time to sit back and reflect. What do we have here?
We here at The Cub Factor think this season thus far can be summed up in the in the immortal words of Megadeth: So Far, So Good . . . So What!
It's like, everything the new management team kinda said would happen is kinda happening. That it would be a rebuilding year, and fans have for the most part accepted it. That they are going to make moves with the future in mind and not the present, and they have. That Darwin Barney would be their second baseman, and he is.
But the present still - to quote Carlos Zambrano - stinks. The Cubs wrapped up the first half of the season tied with the Astros and Rockies with the least number of wins (33). And just like Dalton warned when he arrived to clean up the Double Deuce, it's gonna get worse before it gets better. If only Randy Wells and Chris Volstad had thrown their last pitches in a Cubs uniform; instead it's Ryan Dempster and probably Matt Garza on their way out.
So the second half of the season is more likely to look like the first two months than the past two weeks. But that still feels a little okay.
Week in Review: The Cubs went 4-3 splitting four games with the Braves and taking two of three from the Mets. You know, it just felt like a better week than just one game over .500. But that's all it was; they won just one more game than they lost.
The Week in Preview: Most of the Cubs get a few days off for the All-Star break while Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHR take their talents to Missouri. The Cubs get back to real baseball next weekend against the D-backs at home.
The Second Basemen Report: Darwin Barney started every game, though one was at shortstop with Jeff Baker taking the call at second. Barney had four hits and two walks. The good news for The Second Basemen Report is that Coach Dale is really starting to double-switch with the second base position, which is always fun. And it's also just like the ghost of Jim Hendry would have wanted.
In former second basemen news, DJ LeMahieu has been shuffling back and forth between the majors and Triple-A for the Colorado Rockies this season. He was part of the Ian Stewart trade, and he is missed.
Crazy Corners: Luis Valbuena continues to keep a stranglehold on third base while batting just .225. If it seems like that number should be higher, maybe it's because he's batting .333 with runners in scoring position. And, um, this Rizzo kid seems to have first base locked up.
The Weekly Bunting Report: Nothing to see here. With Campy getting so few at-bats, I'm going through feigned bunt withdrawal.
The Zam Bomb: Big Z is putting some of us to sleep. Big Z for Ambien? Big Z is Getting Angry.
Similarly, Mount Oz is about to erupt with such force that the tremors will be felt back here in Chicago. Some lava might also ooze its way north. Residents are advised to take precautions.
Endorsement No-Brainer: Bryan LaHR for spring flowers, because they do better in April and May.
Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares in the Home Run Derby hit an all-time low because even the stupid baseball fans know it's stupid.
Sink or Sveum: 32% Analytical, 68% Emotional. Sveum jumps two points on the crazy meter this week due to actually trying to manage and being in some games. On a scale of Bat Sh#t Crazy, (Charles Manson), Not All There, (random guy with a neck tattoo), Thinking Clearly (Jordi LaForge), and Non-Emotional Robot (Data), Dale is still Thinking Clearly.
And just like your thought-to-be level-headed uncle, Dale lit up when your friend from school Gene asked him about his belt buckle collection. Dale finally had something to talk about.
Over/Under: Number of mentions Bryan LaHR gets during the All-Star game about how he really shouldn't be there: +/- .5.
For some reason, everyone likes this guy and they don't really rip him much for doing nothing for close to a month now.
Don't Hassle the Hoff: Looks like Micah Hoffpauir is just spot starting and pinch-hitting for the Ham Fighters. Um, hassle!
Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that the real All-Star just got to town.
The Cub Factor: Unlike Alfonso Soriano, you can catch 'em all!
The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.
Fantasy Fix: Stars And Gripes.
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