Chicago Cubs 2013: A New Hope ... or None at All?

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Chicago Cubs 2013: A New Hope … or None at All?

Chicago Cubs

help me obi wanHelp me Obi Wan Epstienobi.  You’re my only hope.

You guys see what I did there?  I changed around a Star Wars quote.

Nailed it.

But really, much like Leia, I think we need some help.  There’s actually some similarities between her predicament and the Cubs thus far.  Her planet, which was home to all her friends and family, was completely obliterated along with everything she loved and held dear.  She literally lost everything.

Our baseball team is stinky and it makes us swear more at the TV.

See?  It’s all about drawing comparisons.  Totally similar.

(Sorry for the spoiler.  But c’mon, if you haven’t seen Star Wars yet … I mean, what the hell, man?)

On Opening Day this year, I went to Wrigley to find out if anyone has hope – as is Cubs fan tradition.  Then I wrote about it here.  The results were hilarious booze initiated yays and nays, as was expected.  But where do we stand now that things aren’t going so hot?  Do we have hope?

At the time of this writing, the Cubs are 11.5 games back in the Central along with the Brewers.  This translates to either being tied for last, or being tied for 4th.  Optimists and pessimists alike can agree that neither is where a ball club would like to be at this point in the season.

As of Friday, the Cubs are also 10-14 at home and 8-13 on the road.  They’re also 27th in the league for total wins only ahead of the Mets, Astros and Marlins.  Yep.  The Mets.  The Astros.  The Marlins.

More?  Alright.  Currently the Cubs are: 26th in OBP, 24th in total RBI’s, and dead last in walks.

I know, I know.  These probably aren’t the most important stats when judging a ball club, but they matter.  Just like Princess Leia’s planet mattered.  And clearly I singled out three categories which are the Cubs’ worst.

Sure, they’re doing some good things too.  For example, they’re 9th in slugging and 7th in stolen bases.  So runners that are getting on are getting over … just not all the way over (that’s what she said?).

Those three categories though.  It’s bugging me.  Last and nearly last?  Hoping to find some relief, I went back in time to check out past champs’ stats in those three categories.  Here’s how they finished in relation to the rest of the league.

12 Giants: 

  • OBP: 8th 
  • BB: 13th
  • RBI: 15th

’11 Cardinals:

  • OBP: 3rd
  • BB: 6th
  • RBI: 5th

’10 Giants: 

  • OBP: 19th
  • BB: 21st
  • RBI: 17th

’09 Yankees:

  • OBP: 1st
  • BB: 1st
  • RBI: 1st

’08 Phillies:

  • OBP: 16th
  • BB: 8th
  • RBI: 8th

What’s all this mean?  I don’t know.  I guess unless you’re the ’09 Yankees and have a healthy A-Rod, Teixeira, and Jeter there’s really not a correlation to a Championship and those three categories.  You just can’t be last in any of them … which the Cubs are currently.

But what about pitching?  The Cubs are currently 11th in ERA.  That’s not bad.  Let’s go back again at the past five champs’ ERA standings.

12 Giants: 

  • 7th

’11 Cardinals:

  • 12th

’10 Giants:

  • 1st

’09 Yankees:

  • 12th

’08 Phillies:

  • 6th

See?  We’re hanging in there?  Hope and stuff?

Ugh, I can’t do it.  I can’t even do my best Tom Hanks impression and act like I have hope.  I’m more like Keanu Reeves in the third ‘Matrix.’

(Another spoiler, that movie is really very bad. [Ed. – I liked the way ‘The Matrix’ trilogy wrapped up, but I’ve found myself increasingly alone on that one.])

This year is different.  I don’t pretend to know what to do to fix it.  I defer to better baseball minds.  But I’m already sick of “rebuilding.”  I just want to whine about it about like a 3-year-old who’s past his nap time.  I just want to be gooooooood.

Think about this:  my great-grandpa (whom I knew and was close to) lived his whole  life without seeing the Cubs win the World Series.  How depressing is that?  He loved the Cubs.  And they did nothing for him.  Talk about unconditional love.  It’s easy to say it’s been over 100 years since they last won.  But when you put it in terms of human lives … whoa, that’s deep, man.  How’s that for hope?

We need more than a solid starting rotation – which, granted, some teams would kill to have.  But I don’t want to hope for a pitcher’s duel every game and pray that Rizzo can somehow hit it out of the park for a 1-0 win.  I want more.

Maybe this will change and the Cubs will go on a run and start hitting with men on (see the other night against the Pirates after a gem by Samardzija) and maybe the bullpen will stop blowing leads that shouldn’t be blown (see the night before, after a Garza gem).  Oh, and maybe I won’t have to stare at Shawn Camp’s face anymore.  Talk to me in July.  But for now, the Death Star is pointed at Alderaan and we’re looking out the window waiting for an inaccurate space explosion complete with sound and a fire ball.

So again I say: help me Obi Wan Epstienobi.  You’re my only hope.

Author: Myles Phelps

Myles Phelps is a contributor to Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @mphelps11.