So welcome to my own personal hell. The Cubs are in first place and every drunk bleacher reject in North Central Indiana trots out their Cubs hats to celebrate. The only good news for Cubs haters like me, is that this season is highly unlikely to end well for the Lou’s boys. Aside from the fact that I hate them, there are a few objective to disbelieve what the Cubs are doing.
1. Their rotation is not nearly deep enough to contend in October. Raise your hand if you believe that Ryan Dempster will win 78% of his decisions and carry an ERA under 3 into August. No one? Yeah, me neither. Dempster, the reason cited by Lou Pinella for the Cubs strong start, has NEVER had a season with numbers this good, not even when he was healthy with Florida. Dempster will fall off sharply in the next few months, and when he does so will the Cubs. Remember last year when Lou had to yank Z from the first playoff game because he KNEW he only had one reliable starter? NOTHING HAS CHANGED.
2. The division. Contrary to popular belief the NL Central has actually become one of the best in baseball. Only the AL East can boast the depth of field from top to bottom that the Central has. It’s fashionable to mock the Pirates and Reds, but both clubs have records as good as Detroit, Cleveland, the Dodgers and Seattle. The Cubs have done most of their damage against the weak NL West (going an insane 17-5), but will have much more trouble against the Central as the summer wears on.
3. The schedule. The Cubs have already played 5more games at home than on road. The schedule was loaded with early games at Wrigley, but come September they’ll face 16 of their last 22 on the road. The Cubs are under .500 on the road.
4. The bullpen. Pinella has openly said that he doesn’t have an ‘innings’ staff. He has relied heavily on his pen to this point in the season. Only three teams in the NL have logged more innings from the bullpen this season. The Cubs are 3rd in bullpen ERA, but that is an advantage that will deteriorate unless they get more IP from the starters. By the end of the year, the strongest facit of their club could well be over worked. Not to mention the fact that they are relying on Kerry Wood to hold up.
5. The farm. The Cubs have the 20th rated farm system in baseball. When the time comes for July dealing, the Cubs don’t have as many chips to bargain with as other teams.
6. 100 years. At some point you stop saying, “Hey, they’re due!” and you start saying, “Hey, they suck”.
The great part about this post is that I don’t even have to resort to wishful thinking to write it. This team may well win the division, but they simply don’t have the horses to go anywhere in the playoffs. Honestly, if I didn’t believe so strongly in Sweet Lou’s genius, I wouldn’t even expect them to take the Central. They are primed for a huge drop off, and I for one won’t be the least bit sorry to see it happen.