This article was originally published at TheDailyCub.com, your place for all things Chicago Cubs. The Daily Cub also boasts B/R writers Bob Warja and Pat De Marco.
It’s Easter, and the Cubs will be playing today in the rubber match against the Brew Crew.
Fresh off of a Blackhawks shutout over the Detroit Red Wings (I had to watch hockey today with my family), the Cubs will try to add another win for Chicago tonight.
I have been pretty dormant lately and I figured I could offer a few thoughts on the Cubs through the first five games of the season.
We are only 3-2 and the start has not been that impressive
Sure, we could easily be 4-1, but that will be talked about a little later. This Cubs team can look amazing (see the eight run first two innings against the Astros), but they haven’t been able to put together a full game yet.
I am a little scared that we haven’t been able to pull together a dominant performance even with the stout pitching and amazing hitting we have on paper.
Milton Bradley may only have one hit, but he has been impressive
If you look at Bradley’s raw hitting, it isn’t too impressive, but then you take into account the fact that each time he has walked to the plate, he still almost always finds a way to get get on base.
Despite being 1 for 16 at the plate, Bradley has an OBP of .318 thanks to five walks and a hit-by-pitch. He also has scored three runs thus far this season.
Oh, by the way, his one and only hit was a solo home run.
Besides Lilly, the starting pitching has been fantastic
Cubs starters continue to put up quality start after quality start thus far this season.
Carlos Zambrano has started two games this season, pitching 12 innings, allowing four runs for a 3.00 ERA. Ryan Dempster’s last outing was strong, with six innings pitched and just two runs scored, a very successful showing in his season debut.
Rich Harden was lights-out in his debut, allowing just one earned run on three hits in six innings. Harden even struck out a ton, as usual, fanning 10 in an impressive start.
The only bad outing has been thrown by Ted Lilly, who was backed up by 11 Cubs runs, allowing him to avoid the L despite allowing five runs in five innings.
Kevin Gregg scares me as the closer
Listen, he had a great Spring Training, and I am trying to take nothing away from his ability, I just don’t trust him to hold down the fort in the ninth inning.
He has already blown one save this season as the Brewers were able to tear him apart in the ninth inning two nights ago, and the fact that he led the majors in blown saves last year is a big red flag.
I think that Sweet Lou should start throwing Carlos Marmol in the ninth and moving Gregg into the eight inning; everything would probably go a lot smoother and everybody would pitch better under those circumstances.
Kosuke Fukudome, anybody?
The man was looked at as a possible major liability to this team, with a monster contract and seemingly not enough talent, and the Asian Sensation was seemingly done in the MLB.
Then, something crazy happened: he had a great spring. Then, unlike Gregg above, he brought that momentum into the regular season.
Fukudome is batting over .400 with two home runs, three RBI’s, and one stolen base. More good news for Fukudome, Piniella just announced that he will no longer be lifting the surprise player for defensive purposes.
I'm Joe W.