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The Advance Scout: May 4-6 @ Cubs

Chicago Cubs in a Box
Category Cubs NL Rank
Runs Scored/Game 4.88 5th
Runs Allowed/Game 3.77 4th
Defensive Efficiency .737 2nd
OBP .333 8th
SLG .429 5th
Pythagorean Record 16-10 N/A

Record/Position/Streak: 12-14, T-3rd in NL Central, W2 (6-4 in last 10)

Scheduled Starters: Friday, Jason Bergmann (0-2, 2.79) vs. Carlos Zambrano (2-2, 5.77); Saturday, John Patterson (1-4, 6.44) vs. Rich Hill (3-1, 1.77); Sunday, Angel Guzman (0-0, 2.45) vs. Shawn Hill (2-3, 3.00)

Cubs Blogs: Bleed Cubbie Blue; Cub Reporter; Cub Town; Goat Riders of the Apocalypse (nice name)

They're Feelin': Willing to help Jacque Jones with some moving expenses; cursed by Scott Eyre

Everybody always talks about how the Cubbies haven't won a World Series about 1908. Oh, it's been such a long time! and They're cursed by something . . . is it the goat curse . . . yeah, I think that's it and Heh heh, do the Bartman! and Those poor, suffering Cub fans! You know what I say? Blah blah blah.

It's been since 1908 -- so what?! That's . . . well, I was going to say it's within this century, but it's not, at least not quite. But it's close. I mean, it's within a century. Perspective, people. How long has it been since the last continental shift, or since the last Ice Age? A long damned time, that's how long. I was watching this Discovery Channel show called Ice Age Columbus once. It was about Beorg, the leader of a tribe based out of somewhere, or at least it would become somewhere, once recorded history started and all that. Beorg set out with a few ambitious youngsters on a seal hunt; the tribe needed the food and oil and assorted sealy goodness. About midway through the program, Beorg took a false step on a sheet of ice and fell straight through. So very cold. Beorg never got his seals and, to my knowledge, still hasn't. That's a much longer dry (or, eh, wet) spell than those Cubbies.

Want something more recent? Okay, what about the Hittites? Those were some bad dudes, pioneers of the Iron Age. Their empire encompassed central Anatolia, northwestern Syria as far as Ugarit, and upper Mesopotamia. It's like the song goes: "When you got Ugarit, you got it all." But that was 2,500 years ago. Now? Not so much. The only time you hear the word "hittite" is in the negative, as in The Washington Nationals' offense -- what a bunch of raving anti-hittites!

Hey, The Queen was in my hometown yesterday. That was pretty thrilling. She's really personable. MLB Advanced Media might not think bloggers are worth credentialed access, but lovely Liz did. An interview with her will be posted tomorrow; she's quite the baseball fan. Anyway, I asked her -- what do you think about your people's record on the North American continent? And she replied that it was a little sobering, since they hadn't recorded a clean victory there in over 250 years. And it hit me: that's a long losing streak, much longer than the Cubbies' supposed curse. Hell, England doesn't even try over here anymore!

How about some other examples? The Whigs . . . how long has it been since the Whigs won an election? Longer than 1908. Susan Lucci . . . she still a lovable loser? I honestly don't know. But I do know she got her first facelift in 1889.

The list goes on and on. The Cubs aren't so bad off.

* * * *

Anyway, the Nats are set to play the Cubs, and I supposed it's rather obligatory that we gaze upon the greatness that is Alfonso Soriano and genuflect because we are not worthy of the validation inherent in . . . I jest, but I can't even finish the sentence. I suppose we're supposed to revel in some schadenfreude since Soriano is off to an awful start and the Cubs are in media res of yet another bed-crapping, with or without Soriano. Except it's not really so. Soriano was held up by a hamstring ailment and it took him a long time to homer, but in truth, he's been pretty decent so far, hitting .310/.341/.512. Now, it's true that Soriano has only walked three times, and his rate of unintentional walks per plate appearance is half what was last season (one over 14.27 last year; one every 29 or so this year). And he's only homered twice. But he's rattled off 11 doubles in 84 at-bats, so maybe we're looking at a reverse image of his early performance last season, when he had an abnormal homers/doubles ratio in the other direction. That flattened out eventually, not that he really stopped hitting homers. This is all to say that Soriano does what Soriano does, and if the Cubs bothered to acquire Royce Clayton and bat him behind Soriano, you might just see Soriano's walk rate rise again.

As for the Cubs more broadly, look at the chart at the top of the post. They're 12-14, but all of the other indicators look pretty good. Keeping in mind it's still early, I'd note their Pythagorean record is nice. Some of the starters (Jason Marquis, the emerging Rich Hill) look like they're pitching over their heads, but Carlos Zambrano is sporting a 5.77 ERA, which will undoubtedly shrink quite a bit. Milwaukee's the hot team in the division, but I think the Cubs are well positioned to this point.

But if they don't get to the promised land, boo hoo. You know Moses himself never made it to the Promised Land, right?