Questions for the Cubs

Cubs No doubt the Cubs needed to do well against the Brewers this week to show they were serious about taking the NL Central.  Well, they were up to the task and swept the Brew Crew all four games including two against two of top pitchers in the National League. 

Now that’s over, a couple questions come to mind that the Cubs themselves are probably asking themselves right now as they prepare for the homestretch. 

1.  The Cubs have just won four in a row against the Brewers at Milwaukee.  Can they compound upon that success and continue to win on the road?  Up until that series, they had a pretty miserable 21-30 record on the road.  Pretty bad considering they had the best record in the NL.

2.  Along the same lines, can Ryan Dempster continue HIS recent winning ways on the road.  He’s won two games all year away from Wrigley all year.  Fortunately, they’ve both been in the last two weeks and hopefully signal a trend. 

3.  Is Alfonso Soriano back and healthy?  His post-DL production seem to indicate so.  Since coming back, Soriano is fire.  He’s batted .343 with an OPS of 1.000.  Now if we can only keep him healthy. 

4.  Can the Cubs keep from overusing Carlos Marmol?  With the addition of Chad Gaudin and now Jeff Samardzija (who I assume is getting a trial in the bigs), the load will be lessened but Piniella will still need to resist the urge to use Marmol as the go-to guy.  When the game is tight, it makes sense.  But there’s no need to wear him out by pitching him in 6-1 ballgames.  For evidence, just look at his performances just before the All-Star break. 

5.  Finally, the coming of August brings a shift in the schedule which prompts the question, Can the Cubs beat the East Division.  They handled the West just fine, thank you with a 23-10 record.  But in August, the East Division is a-comin’ interspersed with the usual suspects in the Central. 

6.  And speaking of that brings us to my last point.  Will the Cubs dominate the Cardinals like they have in previous years?  So far, they are 3-3 against the Redbirds.  In 2006 and 2007, the Cubs have handled them well with a decent 22-13 record combined.  Despite what logic tells us, St Louis isn’t going away (yet) and they still need to be dealt with.  With two Chicago-St Louis series in August (one home and one away), this is the time to do it.

Go Cubs!

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