Written by Adam Lowenstein
The St. Louis Cardinals play their 100th game of the 2012 MLB season Friday at Wrigley Field, looking to continue their success against the lowly Chicago Cubs.
Cubs Strengths: Surprisingly, the Cubs do not have the worst record in the National League. They are not even in last place in the NL Central. The reason for Chicago’s small resurgence from the cellar has been their starting pitching. The Cubs are near the bottom in the majority of overall team statistics, but the starting pitching ERA is close to the league average and the rotation’s batting average against (.247) is fourth-best in the MLB.
Cubs Weaknesses: The Cubs only have a few players in their lineup that will be a part of their rebuilding process under new President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein. SS Starlin Castro, 1B Anthony Rizzo and OF Bryan LaHair each have been solid performers and should continue to improve in the years to come. However, the Chicago offense has been horrendous as a whole. The team averages the second-lowest number of runs per game (3.67) in the majors. In addition, the Cubs own a team OBP of .298, also the second-worst in the league. Playing in the division with the two most home run prone stadiums, Great American Ball Park and Miller Park, the Cubs average the fifth fewest home runs per game (0.84) – and that is even with Alfonso Soriano, who is tied for the seventh-most home runs (19) in the NL this season.