Monday, April 14, 2008

Two Weeks In

And the Chicago Cubs still don't look like World Series contenders. Its hard for me to see, right now why anyone would pick them. They play in probably the worst division in baseball and are a couple of games out of first. Other than Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster, the starting pitching hasn't been very good and who knows how long Dempster will be able to keep this up. His numbers the last time he was a starting pitcher were very poor and he had zero endurance to go late into games. The offense needs a kick start right now. Alfonso Soriano struggled in the 2nd spot in the lineup, so instead manager Lou Pinella bumps him up to leadoff, where he won't be any better. Soriano belongs hitting 5th. Derek Lee has gotten off to a hot start and looks to have gotten his power back after a slow start last season. Through 12 games, he has 5 doubles and 4 homeruns. And Kosuke Fukudome has hit very well, a lot better than he did in spring training, leading some people to say he was sand-bagging everyone so they wouldn't get a read on him. If that's the case, that was a great move on his part. But other than Lee and Fukudome, the offense has been very poor and hasn't scored very many runs. Without a true leadoff hitter, I don't see this team winning the wildcard, let alone the World Series.

On the Southside, the White Sox have gotten off to an amazing start considering where everyone was picking them to finish. They've been getting the offense when they need it and the starting pitching other than Jose Contreas has been a huge bright spot for them. They've gone 5-1 against the Detroit Tigers, a team many pick to be one of the best in the American League and have beaten them soundly. Joe Crede has shown that so far, he's completely rebounded from the back problems of last year and in a contract year, it's at the right time. However, not everything is sunshine and roses. The team pushed back Marl Buehrle from a start this weekend so that
he can pitch against both the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays, teams with left-handed lineups. But Buehrle isn't the typical dominant lefty against left-handed lineups. Over his career, lefties have hit around .250 against him and while that isn't bad, it's not something where you look at it and say 'You know, with Buehrle dominant against lefties, maybe we should save him.' Lots of people suspect he has arm trouble and I think he does too. They pushed back a start of his in the spring because of arm fatigue, but they insist that everything is fine. So, I guess we'll see. I predict he spends time on the DL at some point this season for his shoulder. But hopefully they can keep up their winning pace so we can get some kind of winner this season in Chicago.

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