The Chicago Cubs came into this season with the expectation of at least contending for a World Series title.
However, they have struggled mightily this season, and have been unable to live up to the high expectations that accompanied a seemingly unstoppable pitching rotation and batting order.
As of late, the Cubs have been even worse. The problem for the Cubs has been an inability to consistently put together strong games. Through the past two weeks, the Cubs have been 3-5.
When they have great offensive days, they have been accompanied with great pitching days, and bad offensive days have been accompanied with dismal pitching.
In the Cubs' three wins in the past two weeks, they have scored seven, 10, and 11 runs in each game, but in their five losses, they scored zero, one, three, two, and two runs. Compare that to the two, three, and three runs allowed in the three wins, and the three, seven, four, eight, and seven runs in the losses.
The Cubs need to be able to put together more wins, and that starts with both sides of the ball being held responsible when both sides are dismal in the same game.
One of the main reasons for the Cubs' woes so far this season is the awful offensive production by players who were looked at as people who needed to contribute for the Cubs to be strong.
Milton Bradley, who was brought in to give the Cubs a strong left-handed bat, isn't averaging a hit for every 10 at bats and has hit just one home run in a Cubs uniform.
Derek Lee is hitting just .200 with only one home run so far this season, and he also has just 10 RBI and hasn't stolen a base this season.
Last year's National League Rookie of the Year, Geovany Soto, is batting just .111 and hasn't hit a home run. This adds to the fact that he has missed five full games this season and has accounted for just five runs (two RBI, three runs).
But their hitting isn't the only problem for the Cubs this season—their pitching has been just as bad, if not worse.
More Cubs have an ERA over 6.00 than one under 3.00 (four to two ratio).
And, the Cubs vaunted starting pitching, which was supposed to be one of the best starting fives in the MLB hasn't lived up to the hype.
Every starter has an ERA over 3.00, and the Cubs top-two pitchers are pitching the worst in the lineup.
Despite a quality start last night, Carlos Zambrano's ERA is 4.64, and Ryan Dempster's is 5.40. This is the opposite of what you want from what was supposed to be one of the best starting lineups in all of baseball.
The two "quality pitchers" in the Cubs bullpen, who were in the heated closing competition all spring, are both having dismal seasons.
Carlos Mamol's ERA is 6.75, and Kevin Gregg's is 6.23. Who knew that Neal Cotts would be having a better season than both of these two.
The only pitcher with over 10 innings pitched and an ERA under 3.00 is Aaron Heilman, who has a 0.82 ERA in 11 innings of work. He also has as many wins as Zambrano, Rich Harden, and Ted Lilly, and more wins than Ryan Dempster.
The Cubs need to finally get their stuff together, and they need to start playing up to their full potential. The Cubs are a team that needs a lot of production out of their power spots in the lineup, and they just haven't gotten that this year.
Without the pitching to make up for it, the Cubs may be in line for a mediocre season without much winning.
Then again, there are 142 games left for the Cubs, and anything can happen.
I'm Joe W.