These first two weeks have been marked by solid starting pitching, shaky 9th-inning bullpen work, a lack of consistent offense and most disturbingly, bad defense. Last year, even though the Cubs lost 101 games, I felt like generally, they were beaten because the other teams…well, beat them. This year, they have handed the opposition bases and runs way too often. Yes, there have been physical errors, but it’s the mental errors that really get under the skin of a manager and a coaching staff. The Cubs worked so hard in spring training on the fundamentals and have gone over every situation with their players, but whether it’s a pitcher being late to cover first, outfielders missing the cutoff man or being too aggressive when caution is the right choice, this team has shot itself in the foot too many times on defense.
And for a club that is struggling to scratch out runs, you just can’t continue to be anything other than totally solid defensively to give your team a chance every day. Getting Darwin Barney and Ian Stewart back on the infield will certainly help, but it’s more about a collective effort and while these guys are all trying, they’re just not getting the job done at the moment.