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2009 Chicago Cubs Baseball Preview

The Chicago Cubs (97- 64) have been to the playoffs the last two seasons but have not been able to make the big step to the World Series. And, thus, the second century of frustration begins for Cubbie fans. The last time these guys won it all was 1908. Will 2009 be the year?

The starting rotation is one of the best around. Carlos Zambrano (14- 6 W/L, 3.91 ERA, .241 BAA) offers a 95 mph fastball that viciously sinks as batters swing. He also throws an elusive curve, slider and splitter. Rich Harden (10- 2 W/L, 2.07 ERA, .183 BAA) puts excellent action on his pitches, causing batters to pop out. Ryan Dempster (17- 6 W/L, 2.96 ERA, .227 BAA) is the K-man on this team, working all parts of the plate. Two lefties, Ted Lilly (17- 9 W/L, 4.09 ERA, .239 BAA) and Sean Marshall (3- 5 W/L, 3.86 ERA, .245 BAA), round out the rotation. Lilly, who sometimes gives up too many long balls, throws an array of pitches that work all parts of the plate. Marshall is versatile enough to start or relieve. The bullpen is a bit questionable. Kevin Gregg (3.41 ERA, 29 SV, ,203 BAA) may be the best choice for closer. That is if he can control his penchant for walking opponents.

Is there anyone on this team that doesn't hit close to or over .300? Long ball hitters are aplenty and include Aaron Miles (.317 BA, 31 RBI, 4 HR), Aramis Ramirez (.289 BA, 111 RBI, 27 HR), Alfonso Soriano (.280 BA, 75 RBI, 29 HR), Derrek Lee (.291 BA, 90 RBI, 20 HR) and Milton Bradley (.321 BA, 77 RBI, 22 HR). Ryan Theriot (.307 BA, 38 RBI, 1 HR), Reed Johnson (.303 BA, 50 RBI, 6 HR) and Mike Fontenot (.305 BA, 40 RBI, 9 HR) are three excellent contact hitters. Two of the three are bench players!

Better fielding would help. Little things like booted balls and errant throws can come back to haunt a team, especially in the post-season. This team was in the lower echelon last season in fielding. However, the infield is good. Lee is a quality first baseman and Ramirez plays a tough third. The middle is okay. At short, Theriot is adequate, and at second Miles does well in turning the double play. Behind the plate Soto is a top backstop. He's agile, fast and possesses a fine arm. Kosuke Fukudome is an excellent center fielder. Soriano in left is passable and Bradley in right struggles at times.

When manager Lou Piniella took over the 66- 96 Cubs two years ago, the team suddenly became a contender and was no longer a pretender. Piniella's brash manner and tough telling of the truth first created rancor in his team and then harmony. Since taking over the Cubs, the team has won two division crowns. GM Jim Hendry, who is the direct opposite of Piniella, gets along just fine with his manager. Why? Maybe because they both want to forge a winner.

For the third year running, the Cubs should win the Central Division. But that is simply not enough. Having been swept twice in the divisional series, these guys should be able to get it together and play some good post-season baseball. World Series here they come?

Check out the Cubs other NL central division rivals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros.

For more info on Chicago check out the MLB website for the Cubs.

 

2009 Baseball Preview

The 2009 Major League Baseball season is here and Maddux Sports once again has unveiled their annual preview of this years summer pastime. We go in-depth on all 30 baseball teams as well as our divisional predictions including order of finish. To find your favorite team click on the division links to the right. At anytime you can return to the 2009 baseball preview page.

09 MLB Division Previews


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