Cancel the APB. End the CPD stakeout of Dempsters home in Wrigleyville – that “Pinella’s Pizza” truck wasn’t fooling anyone anyway. Contact the Illinois National Guard. Alert the Special Agent in Charge. The search is over.
Cancel their AWOL status.
Ryan Dempster and Carlos Pena have finally reported for the 2011 baseball season.
It’s unfortunate that they were unable – for personal reasons – to join the team on April 1st, but we are very excited for their arrival.
Dempster turned in his first quality start of the season (after a 9.58 ERA in April).
Pena hit his first homerun of his Cubs career (and ended a dismal 3-37 stretch).
Castro is on the cover of SI.
Barney is the NL Rookie of the Month.
Cashner may be pitching to real, honest-to-goodness hitters in Arizona by next week.
Wells may not be far behind.
Dempster and Pena are not only important pieces for this team, they are important leaders of this team. And it’s hard to lead effectively when your own house isn’t in order. Hopefully, this is that elusive spark the Cubs need to achieve escape velocity from the muddy pool of mediocrity.
Oh, and the Cubs win!
We’re #5! We’re #5!
One step at a time.
It’s time to recap April, locate those kernels of hope, drink the blue kool-aid and look forward to May! Woooooooo! May!
After a rough start, the Cardinals promenaded their way back to the top of the division, with the rest of the teams mired in the mud within a few games of the .500 Reds. The Cubs? Right about where most people expected them to be. I was hoping for better, but there are plenty of reasons why a 12-14 record in April is exciting…
- The Starting Pitching has not been good. Not good at all.
What was hoped to be a strength struggled through the monsoons of April, the injuries to Cash and Wells, and the disappearance of Dempster. The Cubs rank dead last in the NL in quality starts (it’s not even close), team ERA, and walks issued. Garza and Big Z have 7 of the 8 quality starts. The Cubs still managed to win 12 games.
- The Bullpen was a little bit Dr. Jeckyll and a little bit Mr. Hyde.
Marmol, Marshall and Wood have been very, very good. Samardzija has been shockingly useful. It’s almost as if he realized this is the last year the Cubs are going to be paying him. The rest have been up and down and up and down. Although, with even a little bit of starting pitching, the Cubs won’t depend on them nearly as much. Despite the ups and downs, and the fan-favorite All-Bullpen Days, the Cubs still won 12 games.
- The Offense has mainly consisted of Castro, Barney and Soriano.
Zambrano is tied for THIRD on the team in homeruns with 1. Soriano has almost as many homeruns as the REST OF THE TEAM COMBINED (10 of 21 total). Barney has more RBI than Ramirez (14 – 11). Pena is SOMEHOW hitting worse than last year. Unsurprisingly, the Cubs are 12th in the NL in runs scored. The Cubs still won 12 games.
- The Cubs do not lead the league in Antidefense, but they’re close.
Not every Cub feat of antidefense shows up in the errors column. Thankfully. There have been enough botched run-downs, missed bunt assignments, dropped fly-balls (it’s not just a south-side disease), Dunston like throws to first base, throws to the wrong base, and pigeon attacks in the outfield – to lose a few close ones. The Cubs still won 12 games.
- Quade is learning on the job.
Early in the year, I admonished Cub fans to trust in the Quade. I’ll stick to that. He IS getting better. The Quade is sticking with a struggling and/or tiring starter less often (trying to squeeze that ONE more inning out of a pitcher is almost always a big bucket of Fail when facing major league hitters). Heck, he even got thrown out of a game for the first time. And then promptly admitted being wrong for arguing (after seeing the replay). Despite some puzzling batting orders (always overplayed in the media), and lack of Tweeting from the clubhouse… the Cubs still won 12 games.
The Cubs have hit just well enough to hand off some leads to the three headed monster in the back of the bullpen. And that is enough to go 12-14. Despite a lot of room for improvement.
So I’m proudly drinking the Blue Kool-Aid out of a glass that looks half full. 3.5 games back after significantly under-performing for the month? Sign me up.
Now, bring on May. Cardinals and Reds at Wrigley? First road-trip to Fenway?
This is the Month!
One of the most likable Cubs of a generation turning in one of the worst pitching lines I’ve ever seen. Ever. EVER. 0.1 IP, 4H, 7ER, 4BB, 0K, 1HR. Walking 4 batters may have saved him from even more damage. Thank goodness he couldn’t throw strikes. Hmmm….
The Cubs losing 11-2 and the score shouldn’t have been even THAT close. The D-backs were 4-19 with RISP. We got lucky? Hmmm…
The Blackhawks distracting me from the baseball season has ended. I hope all of the Canadians from the western provinces who fainted or put their fist through a wall when Captain Serious scored a shorty with less than 2 minutes left to tie game 7 have made a speedy recovery. The better team won, and I wish the Canucks the best of luck (even though I am sick and tired of a smallish group of Canadians loudly whining about some ridiculous conspiracy against Canadian teams every time a call goes against them – newsflash, like the players, most referees are Canadians too… You haven’t won the Cup in a while because your teams have sucked either in the regular season or the playoffs. See Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers for more info). Double-Hmmmm…
The Bears did their part to distract us with their own mesmerizing incompetence on draft day… bungling a trade with the Ravens. Hmmmm…
From high in the mountains, to the California Coast… from the lake-effect snow and Wrigley monsoons to the sunshine of the desert… the Cubs have played… as icky as the weather. Hmmmm….
I am always happy to see my sibling White Sox do well. And I’m happy that they ended their own awful losing streak – but the only thing worse than a Cubs losing streak is a losing streak when the Sox are winning. Mostly because there is a small but vocal group of Sox fans who take more pleasure in Cubs losses than Sox wins :)P Hmmmm…
The MLB front office putting DeWitt on the all-star ballot instead of Barney. I’m still ticked off about that. Hmmm….
Obviously this team is capable doing a much better job hitting, pitching, defending, managing, running, catching the ball, tagging runners, coaching the bases, sliding into bases (I’m looking at you Captain Castro), and of course hoisting the ‘W’ flag at Wrigley. Does that cover everything? I think it does.
At least Dempster didn’t tweet about it from the clubhouse. Hmmmm…
We need some sunshine. So… cue the cheesy early 90’s pop music. If that doesn’t make you smile, I’m not sure what will.
Things that make you go Hmmmm…
Is it May yet?
Well… the defense is going to lose us a few games this year. This was one. I guess we might as well pile up all of the errors and questionable decisions into as few games as possible. The usually dependable Dempster had another rough outing, so at least the defense didn’t waste a quality start.
The Cubs hitters tried to make a game out of it, but there just wasn’t enough.
On the D-Back side, they may want to play with 6 infielders and just let Young cover all three outfield positions… and I’m only half joking. He gets a great jump and tracks down the ball like a guided missile. Bloomquist is certainly stepping up for the injured Drew, and Putz looked better than I expected… so some Glass Half Full thrown out there for the Diamondback fans.
A .500 homestand to start the season. Not great. Not bad. Was hoping for better, but we’ll take it. Let’s take this show on the road to Milwaukee, Houston and Denver. Big NL Central games early. These count every bit as much as the games in September.