30 games in, it is becoming clear what the Cubs will need to improve to be a top tiered team in the NL.
1. Situational hitting:
The reason the team has a great run differential, but mediocre record, has much to do with when they score their runs, not how many. Last night in the bottom of the eighth was a typical example of letting the other team off the hook.
2. Relief pitchers that throw strikes:
There has been a season long trend of the relief staff allowing free passes, and you just can't do that and be a top level team. Also, has anyone else noticed our relievers have a tendency to throw a lot of 50 foot breaking balls? You need to have some level of command, and not make it easy on the other team.
I think Piniella's influence will help point 1 over the course of the season, but IMO, number 2 has me worried. I have never liked the work Rothschild has done over the past 6 years, and I believe he was retained because Hendry promised him an extension to turn down the Tigers offer in 06. We shall see, but you can't be a good team without relievers that can get the ball over the plate.