I apologize for the matter-of-fact title of this little essay. I've been waiting for a long time for an inspiration to come, but could not hold out any longer without saying what I have to say today. Mind you, it's the same damn thing I said a couple of weeks ago.
I don't claim to be an expert, but I figured once we left winter behind last week, that the Cubs would start to swing the bats better. They have scored a lot of runs: since being shut out on the 8th, the Cubs have been shut out once more and held to 1 run once. Not counting those two games, they have averaged nearly 7 runs a game the past two weeks. That should win some ballgames.
However, the pitching staff has averaged over 8 runs a game over the same period.
I understand there have been setbacks. I cannot for the LIFE of me understand why it is taking so long to bring Randy Wells back from a sore forearm. He has missed 7 weeks so far. Cashner was recently diagnosed with a more severe shoulder problem - why did it take so long to find THAT out? Dempster hasn't pitched worth a damn all year - I would bet my life that he's in severe pain, and is gutting it out "for the team". Now Garza is missing his first start as a Cub, so what does that mean? 10 weeks without our prized off-season acquisition?
Outside of the continued brilliance that is Marshall and Marmol, the rest of the staff has been shaky at best. The Shark started miserably but is pitching well lately, and Wood started well but has been bad lately - thing is, these are supposed to be the last two guys on the staff. Anyone who truly expected either of these guys to carry a big load was seriously, profoundly dumb.
Basically, what I am saying is: the pitching staff sucks. They should have dominated in the arctic April of Wrigley, and instead has done anything but. The defense has done the pitchers no favors, which just makes a bad situation even worse.
There has been a few moves, but not enough. There have been no efforts to look outside of the organization for help. We have a so-called touted farm system currently - with the major league pitching staff in tatters, it has long been time to put some of our resources in motion. The scouts of the Chicago Cubs should be working overtime, scouring every imaginable resource to find somebody available for the right price, that would be a better option than James Russell or Justin Berg.
How do I know this extracurricular effort is not taking place? I can't say for sure, of course. But you watch the games, listen to the radio reports, read the papers. Do YOU detect any urgency from Hendry, Quade, or whats-his-name, the pitching coach these days, about the deplorable state of the Cubs pitching?
No, I don't, either. It just seems exactly like 2011 is just a placeholder year, to bridge the gap between the past and 2012/2013, when most of the big contracts come off the books. That's what I figured was gonna happen, but then again, I'm cynical and a killjoy, and certainly the Cubs would try harder to win than what I thought they were gonna do.