What the Cubs Can Learn from Their Remaining Games

Jason S. PariniCorrespondent IIAugust 29, 2013

What the Cubs Can Learn from Their Remaining Games

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    Luckily for fans of the Chicago Cubs, the 2013 campaign is drawing to a close.  At the end of August, the Cubs find themselves 21 games below .500 and 22 games behind the first place Cardinals.

    However, just because the Cubs are nearly mathematically eliminated from playoff contention does not mean that the season is pointless.  September brings out both the good and bad of teams from top to bottom in the standings and can be one of the most exciting times in the baseball season, regardless of the team's talent level.

    Here we look at five things that the Cubs can learn from their remaining games this season.

Can Donnie Murphy Continue to Perform Well?

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    Third baseman Donnie Murphy has made a huge splash since being called up from Triple-A Iowa.  Despite never playing more than 52 games in a single season, Murphy is playing like a seasoned veteran.  In 21 games, Murphy has a 1.024 OPS with eight home runs.

    At 30 years old, Murphy could hold the Cubs over at third base while their No. 4 prospect Kris Bryant develops.

     

Can Starlin Castro Improve with the Pressure Off?

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    Starlin Castro has struggled mightily this season and currently sits at only a .239 batting average with 23 walks and 111 strikeouts. 

    His defense is just as frustrating with 16 errors in 130 games.  His mental errors are countless, and his attitude needs to change immediately.

    Castro needs to show some desire to succeed, and he certainly didn't the other day.  Castro's abysmal brain fart allowed a runner to score on a shallow pop-up to left field.  Come on, you don't know to watch the runnner after nearly four full seasons in the majors?

    Hopefully, Castro can show some hustle and grit this September.  If not, it's time for the Cubs to consider trading him.

Can the Cubs Play Playoff Spoiler?

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    Of the 29 games remaining for the Cubs in 2013, 16 of them are against teams vying for a playoff spot. 13 of those games are against contending teams for their division (three against the Reds, seven against the Pirates and three against the Cardinals.)  The other three games are against the Atlanta Braves.

    The Cubs have the opportunity to play spoiler, but then again would any Cubs fan complain if they lost all seven to the Pirates so that the Cardinals lose their playoff spot?

Will a Change in the Batting Order Help the Struggling Team?

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    Manager Dale Sveum has already begun to experiment with the batting order.  Castro is leading off with Darwin Barney hitting second. 

    Castro has already hit in multiple positions in the lineup, from first to seventh.  Currently, the Cubs lineup has their two weakest hitters at the top of the lineup.  Let's see how that works out. 

How Will Star Prospects Will Perform in the Arizona Fall League

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    Not only is the performance of the Cubs' major league team important, but the performance of top prospects as well.  On Tuesday, the rosters for the Cubs' Arizona Fall League were announced with top prospects Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant and Albert Almora.

    The performance of each player will be a good measurement for the Cubs heading into the offseason and spring training. 

    It will also be a great opportunity to see how the young stars play together.