Staying above .500 is the name of the game.
Twenty times already this season Chicago has leveled its record at .500. From here on out that number can’t change if the Cubs are to win the division.
I heard Tim Kurkjian on ESPN Radio say 90 games will win the NL Central. For Chicago to reach that mark they’ll have to post a minimum of 46 wins in the second half.
This is how the Cubs won 97 games last year.
Playing with passion, hitting the long ball and superb starting pitching was the team’s calling card a season ago.
Thursday showed the Cubs are still capable of such play, although consistency has been the main problem this year.
Derek Lee is doing his best to impersonate Aramis Ramirez. Much to my surprise, it’s been working.
I can’t figure out why Lou is leaving the leadoff spot open for debate?
It’s not as if the manager is without options at No. 1.
In fact, Lou has plenty of legitimate options for a leadoff hitter, so why not take advantage now?
Tell Soriano he’s moving down and stick with it.
After all, Alfonso has been open-minded about such a move since meeting with Lou in January.
Plus, a decisive decision now leaves Alfonso all of Spring Training, which is two weeks longer due to the Classic, to prepare himself mentally for a change in the order.
Soriano says his legs feel great after the off season, but that’s not the point.
What’s significant is the guy has suffered multiply leg injuries during the past two seasons; and most importantly it’s imperative that his legs are strong come September.
Better, the Cubs’ 0-6 stretch in October with Soriano leading off warrants a change – along with many other factors, of course.
Another lineup change I’d make is moving Derek Lee from the three to the two-hole.
Lee does well taking pitches and making contact, but this team can do better than 20 HRs from the three-spot.
Throw in the 27 double-plays he hit into last season and there’s another reason to believe he’s more suited at the two.
And while Derek briefly regained his power early last year he managed just five home runs after the All Star break, and that doesn’t cut it down the stretch against the NL’s elite pitching staffs.
We keep hearing Lee has regained his power form, but the numbers have yet to show it.
So let the guy earn his spot in the order…if the power numbers go up and the DPs down, then by all means take a look with him as the No. 3.
Also, let’s not get too cute about the lefty vs. righty business either…let the players earn where they hit.
2. Lee (R)
3. Soriano (R)
4. Aramis (R)
5. Bradley (L)
6. Soto (R)
7. Fukudome (L)
8. Whoever is out at leadoff?
9. Zambrano, who else!