Five games into the season and the Cubs are 3-2. Currently, we are in second place tied with the Pirates (who by the way, I used to say ‘we’ll always have Pittsburgh’ and I’m not so sure that’s the case any longer), a game and a half behind the Reds. For the first week, not too bad and lots of great signs in the early season.
Castro has been unbelievable at shortstop, a sign that perhaps he is no longer affected by the error bug bite he endured last season. He is hitting at an astouding .476 with 10 hits in 21 at-bats and nearly half of those hits have been extra bases. In fact, he hasn’t swung at a pitch he didn’t make contact even once in five games. Talk about a ‘good eye’. He is showing no symptoms of a sophomore slump so far and he is probably the Cub I enjoy watching the most so far in 2011.
Colvin has been a nice surprise. He is proving he has returned completely healthy from the injury he suffered late in the 2010 season and has proven he is a capable back up at first base. Having his versatility in both the outfield and infield is once again going to prove to be very valuable.
Garza threw for 12 strikeouts in his debut with the Cubs. Garza is the guy many fans are going to keep their closest eye on given that the Cubs gave up a lot of young talent to reel him in from Tampa Bay. If he continues to perform like that, he will look to be a worthy acquisition come October.
Even Soriano looks great so far. His batting average is .278 and in five games he already has 2 HRs. Not sure why pitchers have kept a close watch on his leads at first base considering he is no longer the speed threat he once was. Either way, good to have Sori hitting at a respectable clip and hopefully it goes nowhere but up as the season progresses.
If only the promising outlook could hold a little longer. For the next few weeks apparently the four and five starters in the Cubs rotation will be Rachel Dratch’s famous character: Debbie Downer.
While things have been looking up, that is no longer the case as today it was announced that Cashner and Wells will be sent to the 15 day DL. Wells has a strained right forearm (wah-wah) and Cashner has a strained right rotator cuff (wah-wahhhh).
In my opinion, Coleman may end up getting one of the spots as will possibly Marshall, Samardzija or Russell. Quade is right back where he was a couple weeks ago trying to lock in a number four and five. With Silva no longer an option, this definitely puts the Cubs in a tough spot. I was on Twitter the other day chatting with Cubs fans, talking about Zambrano and Cashner and how they had to leave their respective starts with tightness/cramps and how that puts pressure on Demp, Garza and Wells. Someone joked that without everyone firing at full blast the Cubs have no shot so there is no pressure on those that remain.
I of course disagree with that statement. There is pressure as the season is only five games old. We are in second place, 1.5 games out and lots of baseball left to play. There are only five spots so not everyone could get one in the beginning of the year. That however doesn’t mean that guys like Russell or Coleman couldn’t perform to the level we need them to. Look at Cashner. Of course he stood out as the guy that could perform the best out of those left contending for the number five spot, but it doesn’t mean all is lost. If anything, people should focus on the fact that a) we’re only 5 games in and b) it’s only a 15 day stint which means missing 2 or 3 starts per. Not exactly an entire season affected here…as long as the DL stint is long enough for them to get healthy.
The rotator cuff bothers me more than the forearm however neither is good news and hopefully each heal quickly. The season was looking like it was heading in the right direction…and now this. Let’s just sit back and hope for the best. Enjoy the good news when you can because it’s a long 162 game season. Look at the Phillies: already affected by injuries in the line up and the bullpen. Look at the Red Sox: they haven’t even won a game yet. It’s a long season and it’s never going to be good news the whole way through. We’re bound to have some Debbie Downer type moments as the season goes on. Go Cubs Go!