Sunday, April 15, 2012
Ever since the team hit the century mark for their Word Series drought the fans have had a slightly different attitude. Wrigley will always be the "friendly confines" and the fans will always be known as some of the friendliest around. What seems to be changing is what they expect, or demand, from the team.
They are no longer satisfied with watching their team come up short time and time again. There's no reason for it. They've had some of the best names in the game. They have a budget that teams like the Oakland A's would dream of. They've had a complete regime change to push for an culture of winning.
It's times things change.
The Cubs didn't really come into this season with the highest of expectations. No one, expert or not, has predicted them to win the World Series or even make the playoffs for that matter. The fact that they've started off with a losing record isn't exactly a shock for most people out there.
What seems to be the shock is actually the opposite. The Cubs have shown that they have the potential to have offensive production from every player in the line up. The starting pitching has surprised everyone with stellar performances from the top three of the lineup. The relief pitching has shown some inconsistency however they have proven themselves in the past and there's not a lot of fear that they'll be terrible all season long.
Because of the surprise success in these areas it makes the unsuccessful areas stick out like a soar thumb. These areas are Chris Volstad and Paul Maholm. Volstad hasn't been around quite as long as Maholm and he's already shown better work overall. To find a season where Maholm has had a winning season you would have to go back to his rookie season in 2005 where he went 3-1. After that it's been down hill. At this point in his career there's really no hope of any improvement. Volstad has some good stuff however he's more than likely not going to improve at this point in his career either.
There are two pitchers that the Cubs sent down to the minor league before the season started. Randy Wells and Travis Wood. Wells has shown that he can have a winning season. He's not going to be your ace, but he can win more games than Maholm for sure and probably Volstad. Wood has been around a .500 pitcher in his career. Both are younger than Volstad and Maholm so at least they offer a little bit more potential to show improvement.
I wasn't in agreement with sending Wells down in the first place. Now that I've seen Maholm twice I am even more sure that Wells needs to be brought up.
It may seem like a knee jerk reaction, but Maholm has never proven to be that valuable and he's not showing any production now. The Cubs haven't had great offense on the days he's pitched, but even if they had they would have to overcome a 6 run deficit because that's what he's put them in both times.
I say Pull Paul now and bring up Wells. Give Volstad another shot or two but don't give him two long. Moving Mahol early will show him that he needs to get serious and pitch his best or he'll get pulled too.
I don't think the season is over and as always I'm holding out hope for the best. I hope Sveum makes the good decisions. He seems to have a good baseball mind and overall I've become a big fan. Let's see if he can keep it that way.
Go Cubs Go!!!