Five Reasons 2013 Won’t Be The Chicago Cubs’ Year
Five Reasons 2013 Won't Be The Chicago Cubs' Year
If Spring Training is any indication as to how the 2013 season will be for the Chicago Cubs, it's not going to be pretty.
While the team started off strong in the first few days of preseason baseball, they quickly withered away as their players became plagued with injuries. The hope of the 2013 team was replaced by a handful of rookies, hopeful to show the big dogs what they got.
With Opening Day only 10 days away, it's time to face the cruel reality of another year of Cubs baseball. Maybe I should say another season of disappointing Cubs baseball. With a team that lacks in pitching and power hitting, don't expect them to make a run for the playoffs in 2013.
The rebuilding process that general managerTheo Epstein claims the team is undergoing hasn't progressed enough to make a difference in the Cubs just yet. They have already lost two starting pitchers due to injuries and are still in need of a solid third baseman. How can you expect much from a team that is still trying to fit the puzzle pieces together just before Opening Day?
Maybe it's too early to say that the Cubs' sad performances during Spring Training will determine their fate during the regular season, but realistically, 2013 isn't going to be their year (just like the last...oh, 105 years). Hopefully it won't be as disastrous as last year's 101 losses, but the Cubs probably won't even come close to competing for the National League Wild Card this year.
Until the Cubs can strengthen just about every area on that team, don't expect much out of them.
When Spring Training began a month ago, things looked promising for the Cubs' starting pitching rotation. Now, just a week away from Opening Day, the pitching staff looks shaky as the Cubs have lost Matt Garza and Scott Baker due to injuries. While Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson are expected to carry the team with their exceptional performances on the mound, the remaining three spots in the rotation probably won't be as promising.
The Cubs have never had a terribly strong bullpen and it looks like they will continue to be weak in 2013. The verdict is still out as to who will move from the bullpen to the starting rotation to fill in for Baker and Garza, but the team doesn't have many players to provide decent relief pitching.
The Closing Pitcher
It's always risky for the Cubs to send Carlos Marmol to the mound to close out a game. Their veteran closer has blown countless games for his team and as long as he continues to be the closer, the Cubs should expect to lose more games that could easily have been won.
Power at the plate is a problem the Cubs are slowly beginning to solve, but it still needs work. Players such as Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo are a safe bet to score some runs, but these two young men can't carry the team on their own; they're going to need more support at the plate from their teammates if the Cubs want to win.
With the exception of Gold Glove winner Darwin Barney, the Cubs could use some improvement with their defense to prevent giving up careless runs. There are too many errors on the infield that could be prevented, as well as the outfield. For example, Alfonso Soriano can be a decent outfielder at times, his age shows at times when he can't run fast enough to catch a fly ball. Putting someone in the outfield who is agile enough to make the necessary plays will benefit this team much more. Think of Brett Jackson throwing himself into the wall in Pittsburgh last September; that's the kind of defense the Cubs need.