We are just about two weeks into the 2012 MLB baseball season and it is already a good season. Thus far we have seen both the Yankees and Red Sox get swept, Detroit and Arizona were undefeated for the first few games, extra inning games, Ace pitchers get knocked around and much more. It looks like 2012 will be a good season, but not for all teams.
10 games into the season and the Cubs have already showed they are very vulnerable. I know it’s early to judge, but considering the Cubs past history, I don’t think it will ever be too soon to judge them. It seems as if the Cubs are the only people on the planet that actually believe they can contend this year. Everyone else is more excited about what the future has in store for the North Side.
In just ten games the Cubs have shown that they are young, inexperienced and not all that talented. Lets start at the top of the lineup…. David DeJesus has shown that he has potential but has yet to develop into the player he is supposed to be. A leadoff hitter goes to the plate and makes the pitcher throw as many pitches as possible. DeJesus has done the complete opposite this season. He goes up and swings at the first pitch. However, he is not the only one on the team swinging at the first pitch. Theo stresses patience but the Cubs haven’t seemed to be paying attention. The lineup weaknesses don’t stop there. While Soriano is doing well, it’s only a matter of time before he goes cold. He has always been a streaky player. The Cubs lack a real clean-up hitter….On another note…Marlon Byrd…..CANT HIT!!! When he needs to move a runner over, he swings for the fences. When he needs to drive in runs, he grounds out softly to the second basemen. He simply cannot hit. Lets hope he is just cold. Everyone continues to hope that Stewart lives up to the hype he has had since the minors. Thus far it seems that he is not an upgrade offensively from Ramirez. Defensively he is very much an upgrade….Offensively; the Cubs also lack power off the bench. They do not have someone who can up in a clutch situation and hit the big 2 run homerun. They also don’t seem to be playing fundamental baseball. I’ve noticed missed opportunities for bunts or other types of small ball. During the first two games against the Brewers, we have seen ridiculous shifts. For some players the right side is left completely open, for others the left side. Personally as a baseball player, when I see this, I aim to hit the ball in that direction. The Cubs are professional players; they should be able to put the ball in these spots. However, they continue to hit the ball directly to the shift. Lastly, the Cubs offense lacks a true clutch hitter. The Cubs were spoiled by Aramis for many years, but he is now gone. LaHair has stepped up but he is not a proven clutch hitter.
Defensively, the Cubs seem to have a good starting rotation. However, the bullpen seems destined to be the complete opposite. Already the Cubs have bullpen has blown two games. (Sound familiar) Soriano has made some outstanding catches in left field, but these wouldn’t be necessary if he could run. He is constantly late to fly balls which end up being doubles or triples. Castro’s defensive woes carried over from last year. He already has a couple of errors and should probably be moved to second. LaHair is defensively a downgrade from Pena at first base. The Cubs had the most errors in all of baseball last year, and as we know defense can win games. Not getting to balls in the outfield, not making routine plays and all other errors committed have already caused the Cubs a couple of wins and I do not look forward to seeing how many more wins it will cause.
Overall, the Cubs have not been consistent. The bullpen which started out very bad is starting to improve. DeJesus is starting to heat up. Even though there have been improvements, the Cubs dont seem to be able to put it all together at once. The Bullpen can be hot while the offense can be cold. The starting pitching may be hot but the bullpen and defense may be cold. If the Cubs can put it all together there is hope.
As a Cubs fan, I hope I am completely wrong. I hope the Cubs go out, contend, improve offensively and defensively and win ball games. I do hope this is the beginning of a great dynasty on the north side. As of now, I believe the Cubs need to improve the bullpen, work on defense and on situational hitting. The front office will need to continue to make moves to improve the team.