Before I begin writing, let me first say that I am a huge Cubs fan, and this editorial will be biased toward the views of a Cubs fan.
As of right now, Aug. 3, the Cubs sit one game behind St. Louis for first place in the NL Central. They are playing .500 baseball, but have just dropped two games to the Florida Marlins, including two blown saves by closer Kevin Gregg.
Things seem to be falling apart, as it seems like this whole season has been.
As a Cubs fan, I am getting very tired of watching a mediocre Cubs team drift through the season waiting for the team to streak to the playoffs.
I don't think this team is built to have that.
Instead, they are a group of overpaid players who do not come through in the clutch. If the Cubs are EVER going to win a World Series, they need clutch players.
There is too much pressure to win these days, especially on the Cubs. Look at Boston when they won their first in a century. The Red Sox built their team on clutch players who had proven themselves in the playoffs—Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Mike Lowell, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz...the list goes on.
The Cubs do not have clutch players.
Carlos Zambrano? No.
Ted Lilly? No.
Ryan Dempster? No.
Alfonso Soriano? Milton Bradley?
No and no.
The only person I might give the exception to is Derrek Lee, who won with the Marlins in 2003.
So, instead of building the team on clutch players, the Cubs will round out the season.
Maybe they will get to the playoffs.
They will probably lose in the first round if they do.
When I look at this team, I am not scared of anybody, and I don't think teams will be scared of them.
Pitching-wise, no Cubs starting pitcher, except Rich Harden when healthy, has blow-you-away kind of stuff. The bullpen features the likes of Aaron Heilman, Carlos Marmol, who throws the ball not knowing where it will go, and Kevin Gregg—who doesn't strike fear in anybody.
Their best reliever has been Angel Guzman, who some are now calling for as closer. GM Jim Hendry dealt for Pirates relievers John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny, but neither of them is much better than Heilman.
Hitting-wise, if this team was a group of letters in the game of Scrabble, you would be stuck with a bunch of Qs and Zs. Sure, they can possibly bring you a great score, but when you don't have vowels to mesh around them, they are of no use. I am talking about Soriano and Bradley, specifically.
This team needs a change of direction and, unfortunately, Hendry locked up all of these high-risk, high-reward players for many years to come, and now we, Cubs fans, are forced to learn to love them.
Well, here is one Cubs fan who will keep rooting for a World Series, but like many others, will be prepared to be set up for failure.