Knowing what I'm about to write, I may as well fill this entire blog post with disclaimers. Yes, it's early. Yes, it's three games. Yes, anything can happen. Blah blah blah.
How good are these Cubs? We'll soon find out.
But seriously: this weekend's series with the Dodgers should be as good an indicator as any of this team's ability to win games this season.
Arguably, we already have a pretty good idea of how these Cubs operate: Castro and Aramis are great hitters, a few other guys could be considered "slightly above-average" with the bat, and then the rest are still struggling to get going. In particular, our left-handed power hitters -- Pena and Colvin -- have 15 hits in 92 at-bats. Pena has just one extra-base hit, a double. Is this the weekend they get going, facing two tough righties over the next three days? Does Baker start at first on Saturday in place of Pena when Ted Lilly takes the mound?
On the pitching side, you might argue that you can't answer all the questions about the Cubs' pitching staff without having another look at Matt Garza. On the contrary, I think he's shown he has the stuff to make it in the NL; I think the number of hits he's allowed is more a function of bad luck than of bad skill (his .471 BABIP WILL go down, trust me). And he can obviously get the strikeout when he needs it.
But can Casey Coleman continue to avoid the big inning by walking as many batters as he strikes out? Can Ryan Dempster keep the ball in the park? Can Carlos Zambrano be efficient against a line-up that isn't the Padres?
I think most would agree with me that a sweep of the Dodgers would be more of a surprise than being swept by the Dodgers. But any time a good team comes to town, it always represents an opportunity to surprise the fan base, to show that a .500esque bunch can keep up with the competition. Let's see if that happens this weekend.