The all-star break is here so it's time to review the Cubs first half of the season. We all know the Cubs have the second worst record in all of baseball, but there are some positives so far this season as well. I present to you the good, the bad, and the ugly of your 2011 Chicago Cubs.
Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney have given Cub fans something to get excited about. A team that has let it's fans down with past "can't miss prospects" such as Corey Patterson and Hee-Seop Choi have finally shown that they can develop talent. Castro and Barney are both hitting over .300 and figure to be the double-play combination on the North Side for a very long time.
2) The Bench
Led by Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker the Cubs bench has been pretty good all season. The unfortunate part is that with all the injuries the Cubs have been dealt, the reserves are getting as much playing time as the starters.
3) The Effort
With as bad a record as the Cubs have this late in season it would be easy for them to just mail it in and look to the future. Games like Thursday in which they trailed 8-0 to the Nationals, but came back to win shows that this team is still fighting no matter how bad their record might be.
4) The Bullpen
The Cubs have five relievers who have sub-3.5 ERA's. Led by Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall the Cubs bullpen has been a bright spot all year long.
1) The Defense
The Cubs defense has been bad all season. Not even just errors, but mental mistakes as well. Whether it be misplaying fly balls or not hitting the cut off man the Cubs have looked like the Bad News Bears on too many occasions this season.
2) The Front End of the Rotation
The top three starters, Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, have pitched well at times but have also been inconsistant all season. The three starters have a combined record of 16-17 and an ERA in the high four's. These pitchers need to pitch to their expectations not only this year but future seasons as well.
3) The Outfield
Yes injuries to Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano haven't helped, but there have been two many games started by the combination of Baker,Campana, and Montanez. Not only aren't these three players close to the '27 Yankees, but they sound more like a law firm then a starting outfield.
1) The Injuries
Just about every key member of the 2011 Cubs has missed several games or several weeks at some point because of injuries. You knew it was a bad sign when 40% of the starting rotation, Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells, went down in the first week of the season.
2) The Back End of the Rotation
Whether it be Jeff Russell, Ramon Ortiz, Rodrigo Lopez, Randy Wells, or Doug Davis, all have failed in securing the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation this season. The five starters listed above have a combined record of 4-19.
3) Tyler Colvin
Tyler Colvin looked like he would occupy a spot in the Cubs outfield for years to come. If 2011 is any indication it might be for the Iowa Cubs. Colvin has an average of only .105 in 38 games. In all fairness Colvin could still be recovering from the scary incident that shortened last season when he was pierced by a broken bat, but as far as this season goes it has been a bust.
This has been your 2011 Chicago Cubs season summary. Yes there are still two and a half months left in the season, but it looks like the Cubs will be spoliers and not contenders and sellers not buyers when the trade deadline hits.