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Cubs Midseason Report Card

By Jay Garneau

With the Cubs at 41-40 at the midseason point, it's about time to reflect on the Cubs' first half of the season.

Starting Pitching: A-
We'll start with their one high note. The starting pitching, for the most part, has been stellar. Ted Lilly has been, and continues to be a horse out there. With an 8-6 record and 3.32 ERA, he's become the ace of the staff this year. Randy Wells has been the surprise of the year, with a 4-3 record and 2.48 ERA. Wells should be about 7-1, if not for the lack of offense and the bullpen blowing games. Zambrano has been his inconsistent self, showing up one day and tanking the next, with the stats still ending up decent (4-4, 3.47). He'll be a key factor in the second half. Dempster and Harden have been inconsistent with a few bad games, each standing with 5-5 records and ERAs of 4.09 and 5.35, respectively. If the starters continue at the current rate, the Cubs will have a great chance to win the division.

Relief Pitching: B-
While the Cubs relief pitching hasn't been as great as hoped, it hasn't been bad, and has improved throughout the year. Closer Kevin Gregg has a 3.52 ERA and is 15 of 18 saving games, including a 2.83 ERA since April. Carlos Marmol, the horse of the 2008 season, has disappointed in 09. Believed to be the next closer in line by many, he has a horrid 1.51 WHIP (mainly thanks to 40 walks in 40.1 innings) that has led to a 3.57 ERA. Angel Guzman has been a good surprise, holding a 2.45 ERA, including a 1.66 ERA since April. It's a similar case for Aaron Heilman, who, after a horrible April and May, has a 2.04 ERA since. Cotts was horrible before being sent down, and Patton has also been a waste of a roster spot. Journeyman Sean Marshall has done a solid job both as a starter as well as lefty specialist.

Offense: D-
I don't think I need to explain too much. There are few bright spots here. Derrek Lee has been hot lately after a bad start, and is .284-16-53. Fukudome seemed like he was going to repeat 2008, when his average went down every month, but after a hot start and cooling down, he has been solid throughout June and July, especially out of the leadoff spot. Theriot has been solid as well, though his little 'power hitting' spurt gave him a bad approach for a few weeks. Now, onto the bad. Soriano is a joke. You can't have a leadoff man with an OBP under .300 like the Cubs had most of the year. Soto hit a sophomore slump, still at .230, though it's believed he knew about his pot test early and this stress affected his play. Fontenot, Bradley, and Hoffpauir have been inconsistent, and overall, haven't matched expectations. They've gotten shots in the arm from Jake Fox, Andres Blanco, and Bobby Scales that have kept the team afloat in the standings.

Defense: C
The Cubs' gloves have literally been middle of the road. They have the 15th most errors, and 18th best fielding percentage. Soriano has made 7 errors, an abysmal amount for an outfielder. His lack of effort and stupid plays have cost the Cubs many a run. Theriot and Fontenot have been lackluster, as well. Andres Blanco, though, has been playing Gold Glove defense at second base. In my opinion, he'd be a shoe-in for the award if he played a full season. Overall, a few people playing out of position has hurt the defense a bit, but it has been acceptable.

Overall: C-
What it boils down to is the standings. Bad news, the Cubs are 3 games out of first. Good news, the Cubs are 3 games out of first. While it's definitely not where we hoped to be, considering the disappointment of the offense and the injuries the Cubs have dealt with, the North Siders are lucky to be in the playoff hunt. If the hitting can return to it's expected form, the Cubs could battle to win 88 to 90 games and get a playoff spot.

Team MVP: Derrek Lee
Team Cy Young: Ted Lilly
Team Rookie of the Year: Randy Wells (is he eligible?)
Honorable mention to Andres Blanco. He's had a handful of clutch hits and his stellar glove have saved a lot of runs as well.
Prediction: Cubs end up 85-77, and will have a one game playoff for the NL Central. Time will tell.

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