The Cubs looked to be getting well after the All Star break. Winning four games in a row was one shy of the season high of five straight games won. Don't get too carried away with the thought of the Cubs having a totally different second half though. The Cubs were playing the worst team in baseball, the Washington Nationals, who are currently on their way to posting the worst record by any baseball team.
Remember when Milton Bradley said, "You can mark it down, I'm gonna be hitting for the rest of the year," just over a week ago? Well, that has not happened. Since the All Start break Bradley has batted a miserable 2-12 with four strikeouts. But don't worry Cub's fans! Lou Pinella said he will personally help Bradley.
You could give this guy all the help in the world, and somehow he will not hit.
At some point you have to admit that a player is having a bad, no, a terrible year. Players don't always have a great year, but Bradley having a terrible year isn’t the worst part. It's the money he is getting for putting up bad numbers.
While Cub fans are still not happy about Bradley's performance so far, they have now something else to be mad about.
The Cubs visited Philadelphia and boy did they get murdered by the hottest team in baseball. The Phillies won the game last night 10-1. The game was a one-sided game the whole way. Raul Ibanez started the mayhem in the first inning with a 2-out, 3-run home run off of Ted Lily (who would go four innings giving up seven earned runs on eight hits), and the beating never stopped.
This series is a chance for the Cubs to prove they can beat good teams, but most importantly, win games and get back on track towards winning the division for the third straight year. So far the Cubs look like fools, but they have two more games to bounce back form such a beating.
It's pretty funny and sad that a team that is playing mediocre still has a chance to win the division. As of Monday, the Cubs are only two games behind the 2006 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs need a lot of refining, but it doesn't seem like they are making any moves before the trade deadline comes and goes. Their overspending on players that are not producing may have forced the Cubs into a corner where they can't make any big move.
Despite their up and down play, the season isn't over, and no team in the Central Division has run away with the division. So the Cubs still have a good chance of defending their title. It may sound easy and right at their fingertips, but it will still be a long second half of the season for the Cubs, their fans, and their staff.