I can't speak for all fans, but personally, I'm not surprised the Chicago Cubs are in last place. After failing to sign any major free agents, it became clear that Theo Epstein was opting for a more protracted blue print for success in Chicago than he did with the Boston Red Sox.
Still, an eight-game losing streak is bad by anyone's standards. The Cubs' once great starting pitching has come back to reality and Chicago is lucky to score even one run against opposing starting pitchers. If he figures to be in the Cubs' long term plans, manager Dale Sveum needs to make Chicago competitive again.
In the aftermath of Mike Quade and Lou Piniella on cruise control, I was very impressed with the job Dale Sveum was doing early on as Cubs manager. I did question his handling of the pitching staff at times, but Chicago was playing hard under Sveum. I especially respected Dale Sveum for playing Tony Campana every day.
However, the Cubs lineup has lacked any fire of late. Of course, Campana continues to hustle. However, with Bryan LaHair mired in a slump, Chicago now lacks any legitimate, consistent power threat. Dale Sveum needs to either juggle his lineup or light a fire under the young Cubs.
Mainly though, I just want to see Chicago give more effort. If the Cubs have already figured out they can't win this year and they're already just going through the motions, that's a bad sign for Dale Sveum's leadership. It is inexcusable for Sveum's ball club to look this inept against the Houston Astros.
With only a handful of games under his belt as an MLB manager prior to 2012, I don't know if Dale Sveum is the emotional type of manager or if he likes to keep his feelings in check. So far, Sveum has yet to erupt in Chicago. However, it might be time for Dale Sveum to hold a fiery closed-door meeting with the Cubs players.
As a fan, watching Chicago play ball for the last eight games has been pretty miserable. At least when Carlos Marmol was blowing saves the games were exciting for eight innings. But lately, the Cubs look like they'd rather be playing golf than baseball.
Even if Chicago can't win the NL Central or earn a wildcard berth, Dale Sveum needs to get a more competitive performance out of the Cubs this season.
Patrick Michael is a resident of New Orleans, but grew up watching the Chicago Cubs on WGN with Harry Caray and Steve Stone as the announcers. A diehard Cubs fan, Patrick's favorite season was 1984 when the Cubs were one win away from reaching the World Series. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
"Chicago Cubs 2012 Season," yahoo.com
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