MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 27: Jeff Samardzija #29 of the Chicago Cubs poses during spring training photo day on February 27, 2012 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Z.W. Martin's weekly Cubs column -- first of the young season -- takes a look at Chicago's first ten games and how they ended up with a 3-7 record.
dapper Chicago Cubs Notebook: [Cheeky Title]. (ed. note: don't steal my column titles, you bozo. What you know 'bout branding? In honor of your old TUP alias, this will be DUBS ON THE CUBS from now on.) So, without further adieu…
During the 2011 season, I asked my supernatural warlock, The Magic 8-Ball, if the 2012 Cubs would be any better than the current squad. The outcome read, "My sources say no." I'm not sure who the Magic 8-Ball's sources are, but they are on point. Ed Werder is jealous of M8B's sources.
During Spring Training, I again asked my only black friend the same question. It came back with "Ask again later." Fine, I thought. I guess I can wait some more. What's another year of mediocre baseball? It's all I've known. I can survive another one. Might as well get to know what we've got to date.
So, I did. I watched a lot of Cubs baseball over the last 10 games, even attending one, and despite that this team seems very likable from the top down, they are not marriage material. The 2012 Cubs are full of flaws. Personality quirks you simply can't ignore. An expanding waistline brought on by carb loading for drinks after work. They are the team you call at 2 a.m. and ditch at 8 a.m. the next morning.
Maybe we can just be friends, 2012 Cubs? I hope that's cool. You seem really nice and all, but I'm not interested in getting serious.
The first week plus of the young season has gone pretty much as expected as far as wins and losses are concerned, but how the Cubs got to their awe-inspiring 3-7 record is quite different than expected. The Cubs bullpen, thought to be somewhat of a strong point, has been terrible. Ryan Dempster and Jeff Samardzija have looked pretty great. Alfonso Soriano is OBPing over .340 and slugging under .315. Marlon Byrd is hitting .065. The usually reliable Paul Maholm has been god awful. Things are all ass backwards, but of course things are as they should be, too. Chicago is 3-7, after all.
*Please don't sue, Nicholas Sparks. I promise to pick a different name next week. Maybe.
April 5, (0-1)
Nationals 2, Cubs 1
Notes: Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol decided leads and ties are for the birds, consecutively blowing a save and tie in back-to-back innings. Wood's blown save was particularly fun, walking three straight Nationals, allowing the tying run to score. Dempster shockingly out-pitched Stephen Strasburg, striking out 10 in 7.2 innings. Ian Stewart hit a triple in the ninth, but pinch runner, and tying run, Joe Mather was unceremoniously thrown out at home on the next pitch.
April 7, (0-2)
Nationals 7, Cubs 4
Notes: See above.
April 8, (1-2)
Cubs 4, Nationals 3
Notes: Hey! A win. Nothing much to report here other than Samardzija was nasty all day. Well, the two pluses for the Cubs offense so far have been Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair. They each had two hits in this one.
April 10, (1-4)
Brewers 7, Cubs 4
Notes: Paul Maholm really got his dick kicked in here.
April 11, (1-5)
Brewers 2, Cubs 1
Notes: 16 Cubs played in this game. It did not help. Dempster pitched another lovely game, yet got a tough loss after surrendering a two-run 7th inning homer to George Kottaras. That would be enough to secure the win, as Chicago couldn't score after the first. I actually attended this game and took to the Captain Morgan Club to warm up in-between innings. At that time, I got tossed from it by Gus the manager. I am still not sure why. Tell me why, Captain Morgan Club's manager, Gus. TELL ME WHY!!!
April 12, (2-5)
Cubs 8, Brewers 0
Notes: Matt Garza was spectacular. However, his pitch count soared a bit and an errant throw gave Cubs manager and party pooper, Dale Sveum, an opportunity to pull Garza with only an out to go. The Cubs also scored eight runs, which is not going to be a thing this season. Interesting note: they did so without the benefit of a home run. They did, however, go 7-for-12 with RISP.
April 13, (3-5)
Cubs 9, Cardinals 5
Notes: OMG, YOU GUYS! They scored NINE runs! I don't think the details are really important, but Samardzija got his second win, so the world is probably ending.
April 14, (3-6)
Cardinals 5, Cubs 1
Notes: Just when you thought things were about to get cheery, a former reliever turned starter, Lance Lynn, absolutely shuts down the Cubs. Chris Volstad had a really bad fourth and things just never got any better. The Cubs are like your friend who tells a good joke that one time, but keeps bringing it up, ruining the rest of the night.
April 15, (3-7)
Cardinals 10, Cubs 3
Notes: That joke just wasn't that funny, guy. And by guy, I mean Paul Maholm. He gave up six in four innings.
What I Learned This Week
Castro is going to hit a ton, but is also going to continue to make a ton of throwing errors, because that's his thing. LaHair may be legit, which makes this whole Anthony Rizzo trade even more intriguing. Darwin Barney continues to be a nice guy, but a total utility guy and not an everyday player. Stewart hasn't made an adjustment in his swing since 2009. The Cubs will not hit, will pitch OK, but clearly are not deep enough to compete day-to-day at the major league level.
A Question I Have After This Week's Games
What the crap is going on with Paul Maholm? Seriously, bro. Get it together or GTFO. You realize it's a team option for 2013, right?
A Picture Or .Gif To Best Explain The Week