Over/Under: 90 Wins
Not too long ago, Goat Reader MSD asked a tough question: do we think the Cubs will win over or under 90 games in 2010?
Sheesh. Might as well ask me to predict where the stock market will be in six months (altho' I'd be generally inclined to guess "in the toilet").
While I can't predict the future of Cubs baseball (altho' I'd be generally inclined to guess 'heartbreak"), I can predict the course of this blog over the next few months. You'll see cautious optimism from myself, AJ, and possibly Byron and Yarbage assuming they contribute. We'll talk about trends, streaks, and hopes of a Cubs team that includes healthy Sorianos, Zambranos, and so-on. You'll also see cautious realism from Rob, who will say early and often that this team does not impress him, who will point out the glaring holes in the lineup, and who will be the first one to call out a player for under-performing.
Although I'll say things like "anything can happen," (but hopefully in a less ridiculous, cliched manner), and Rob will say things like "book it, they're done," neither of us will really know anything for sure until June or July. By then, the holes will be glaringly obvious, and the surprises will be slapping us all over our pretty little faces.
In other words, I just took a long time to say "nobody knows." But if I had to activate my brain in order to guess today ...
Meh. Seriously. Nobody knows. No team in the NL Central really did anything to put themselves in the guerrilla position. The Cardinals are not exactly world shakers. The Brewers are not discernibly better. The Reds have a ton of talent, regrettably in the hands of the most incompetent oaf of a manager in baseball today. The Pirates are the modern day doormat of the National League.
If -- really big if -- Geo Soto rebounds, if Derrek Lee doesn't fall off the face of the earth, if Jeff Baker/Mike Fontenot can make for a passable platoon, if Ryan Theriot is used right, if Aramis Ramirez stays healthy, if Alfonso Soriano bounces back, if Marlon Byrd isn't the Next Great Black Bust, if Kosuke Fukudome can step it up just a little bit, if Carlos stays healthy and focused, if Dempster builds on a strong September, if Ted Lilly gets and stays healthy, if Randy Wells isn't the next one-year-wonder, if Gorzelanny or Silva can shock us, if the bullpen in general can be relied upon, and if Carlos Marmol rediscovers his control and assumes the closer role ...
If all (or most) of those things happen, then the Cubs will be tough to beat. They will be a 90 win team. They will be playoff bound. But that's an awful lot of "ifs." So, if you're looking ahead to September/October, and are trying to plan your life accordingly, I would caution you from booking a trip to Chicago for those months. You might have fun in the windy city, you may enjoy some fine dining, some lovely ladies, and maybe even some fantastic night life, but you aren't too likely to enjoy playoff Cubs baseball.
But really, nobody knows. Not even Jeebus.