Are things looking up?
Not long ago, I was about ready to give up on the 2005 campaign. The Cubs were a bad team. They weren't playing well at all. Dusty Baker needed to be fired. (Okay, okay, so not everything has changed.) I even created the graphic on your left to replace the Zambran-O-Meter.
Then, the Cubs clawed their way out of a team-wide slump. Jason Dubois began to get regular playing time. LaTroy regained and then lost his job as closer. Carlos Zambrano mysteriously hurt his elbow, shrugged it off, and pitched 7 strong innings in his next outing.
In other words, things have started to look up.
But before you get too excited, I've decided to share a few unhappy stats with you. Not because I believe the Cubs are basement bound, but because I can't help but play the realist.
First: The Cubs have yet to win a series against a team that's currently better than .500.
Second: Once the Cubs finish with the worst teams in the National League, they will embark on a seven game series against two teams that are at the top of the NL West. Then they play the Blue Jays. Then, they play nine against the Red Sox, Marlins, and Yankees.
In other words, it's going to get tougher.
Don't get me wrong. I think they can bite and scratch their way to a winning record. But they'll have to show some fortitude. The bullpen will have to buckle down. The rotation will have to gain consistency. Things might be looking up, but they're still looking uphill.
But I say battle on. Maddux starts today.