Tuesday, April 08, 2008

One Week In

This page has been accused, often rightly so, of dwelling on the negative side of Cub baseball too often. After seven games there have been a few negatives to point out. But the reason this team is over .500 so far is really due to contributions from a few players that have far exceeded expectations.

Kerry Wood

I hope he's not saying ''Ow!''Since 1998, this guy has been a fan favorite, yet mostly a tease on the field. Kerry was a big reason the Cubs made the playoffs in 1998 and 2003. His win in Atlanta gave the Cubs a post season series win for the first time since... well... you know when. Wood's problem is that he's had more injuries than Evil Knieval. And, because of that, the willingness to trust Kerry Wood as being a necessary component to a winning team is something not easily granted.

But excluding one inning, Wood's been flat lights out. Since game #1, Wood's thrown 42 pitches, 29 of them for strikes. He's given up one hit, no walks and struck out 3 of the ten batters he's faced.

While worries linger that the Kerry Wood we see today will be gone by June, so what? He's here now and as dominant as any closer in the game so far. Give him the ball until he either closes a divisional championship game or asks for Dr. Frank Jobe's phone number.

Derrek Lee

Another ne? Forgotten what that felt like...When Lee came to the Cubs in 2004, everyone guessed he'd step up to a higher level freed from the cavern of a stadium the Marlins call home. He did, but not until 2005.

In 2007, coming back from the Furcalectomy he suffered the season before, there were times when Lee looked totally lost at the plate. He'd swing at pitches he had no business swing at. He'd take pitches right down the middle. Whatever the reason, the 2005 Derrek Lee was not around. And, given that he'd only really had 2005 as his one huge season, expecting another 2005 was not a high probability.

This past week, Derrek Lee has looked like 2005 was a warm up. He's looked like a legit #3 hitter, something the Cubs didn't appear to have going into the season. If Lee can contribute offense on the pace he's showing now, like have Good Rex leading the Bears, a radical revision for the expectations of this team are in order.

Kosuke Fukudome

You, too, can play like this if you pay attentionThe only bad thing about Fukudome is how badly he's embarrassing the players around him. Kosuke is a genuine pleasure to watch if you are a fan of playing baseball the right way. And by "right way" the Bob Brenly "don't bunt to break up a no-hitter" rule is not what is meant.

You watch how Kosuke approaches at bats and all you want to do is take the film and show it to every kid in little league. Then you show it to the entire Cubs' minor league system. And then a few of their major leaguers. The bunt single he had against the Astros was a thing of beauty.

The only complaint about Fukudome is two-fold. First, he's batting too low in the order. He should be hitting second. By batting him 5th, Lou Piniella is probably costing Fukudome about 50 at bats per year. Certainly he deserves the additional at bats and there are other people in the lineup deserving fewer.

The only other complaint is that some people seem to want to call him "Dough-may." Stop yourselves. The crowd at Wrigley had the chant right the other day.


If Wood, Lee and Fukudome can continue contributing better than what was expected, it will be a very good year at 1060 West Addison.

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]