Monday, April 09, 2007
So Far, So So
As Wrigley Field opens for the final time under current management... Well, at least ownership management and likely front office management. As the ball park opens, the Cubs arrive with a 3-3 record in 6 games against divisional opponents. This is probably a reasonable result and well within expectations.
Then again, anytime this team wants to exceed expectations would be fin with the majority of its fans.
The biggest surprise does have to be the starting pitching. Other than Carlos Zambrano's typical opening day fiasco and Wade Miller's impersonation of a pitching machine set a batting practice speeds, the rotation has looked solid. And, if the staff is indeed this solid, the upside for the win total for this edition of the Chicago Cubs needs to be increased to the mid-80's.
Although Scott Eyre is doing his best impression of Mike Remlinger against lefties, the rest of the pen has been acceptable.
As noted by our good friends over at 1060west.net, the real upside for this team fall on the shoulder of Mark Prior. Notwithstanding a trade for a Dontrelle Willis, there is no arm that could potentially turn this Cubs starting staff from above average to exceptional. A 2003 Mark Prior could be the difference between 2nd place and no playoffs and October success.
This would seem to be the iron pyrite of hope. All evidence points to Mark Prior's shoulder now having the consistency of plots on Lost. Why must people assume that Mark Prior is a wimp? Isn't it far more likely that a guy who always threw in the mid-90's and is one year short of big money that comes with free agency wouln't do anything to reduce his market value?
No, the probability is that the greatest college pitcher ever is wrecked beyond repair. That means, an October Surprise will only result from some Trader Jim Hendry success.
Given that Hendry is probably gone after this year, he will be heavily incented to trade all the wonderful budding talent he has amassed to finally win. That's a great scenario for a team ready to sell - a team with little on the horizon for cheap, young talent and a boss ready to deal what little he has for a fleeting chance at saving his own skin.
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