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CHICAGO CUBS SECOND HALF PREVIEW

July 20, 2009

Well, here we are entering the second half of the baseball season. The first half of the season was pretty disappointing, when you consider that the Cubs were picked by many to run away with the division. They finished the first half with a .500 record and in a third place tie in one of the weakest divisions in baseball. They started the second half of the season strong by sweeping the Washington Nationals. Although the Nationals are one of the worst teams in the game, you have to beat the teams you are suppose to beat. They currently sit in second place with a 47 -43 record just 2 games behind the Cardinals. There are several reasons I believe the Cubs will have a much better second half and win their division.

They played most of the first half without their best hitter Aramis Ramirez. Aramis Ramirez should give the Cubs the shot in the arm that the need. They’ve had a ton of injuries that have slowed them down including Geovany Soto, Ryan Dempster, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano and Milton Bradley, but they expect to have Dempster back around late July and Soto should be back by early August.

Another reason for the Cubs slow start has been the play of Derrek Lee. Lee got off to a terrible start, but has really been producing lately. With Lee hitting like the all-star he is, the offense will continue to produce like they did against the Nationals.

A recent line-up change has really paid off for the club as well. Soriano was moved from the lead-off spot to the sixth hole and Fukudome has been moved to lead-off. Since the move Fukudome has batted .321 and in his last 10 games Soriano has batted .371 with 6 rbi’s.

Milton bradley has been a complete bust since coming over from Texas. It’s hard to believe he’ll have as bad a second half as his first half. This is a guy that batted .321 with 22 homeruns last year , and batted over .300 in 2007. He’s a proven hitter and should come around.

I’m looking forward to seeing who the Cubs might go after before the trading deadline. They’ve made some bold moves in recent years by adding some big names, and there are many teams who are out of the race that are looking to cut payroll. some of the names that have been floating around are, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Matt Holliday and Freddie Sanchez. Whether they make a move or not, they have the neccesary pieces to make a strong playoff push.

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