The Cubs had a rare offensive outburst today, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-4. How rare? Well, nine runs is more than they scored in their previous five games combined.
Have they turned a corner of some kind? Only the next corner on a path leading them to a losing season. The team's strength--starting pitching--has become, if not bad, at least inconsistent. Add that to a list of already bad compenents: Bad fielding, bad hitting, bad baserunning and bad attitudes (at least where Carlos Zambrano is concerned--the rest of the team seems to have no attitude).
I've said before that it's time for Lou Piniella to go, and I still think it's the only way to salvage this season on a positive note. Yes, the players are the ones playing and Lou can't play for them, but at least part of his job is to motivate them, and he can't seem to get that job done anymore. If you fall in with the crowd that thinks GM Jim Hendry deserves more blame than Piniella or his players for the sad state of the Cubs, that may be hard to argue--which only demonstrates further how messed up this team is.
I wouldn't be saddened if the Cubs sent both Piniella and Hendry packing before the end of this month, though presumably Hendry will be busy shopping a few of his players--Kosuke Fukudome, Xavier Nady and Mike Fontenot, I'm betting--to real contenders. If a new GM were to be brought in this moment, with some weeks to go before the trade deadline, he would be hard-pressed to make the sort of deals that could boost the Cubs division hopes.
My guess is still that the Cubs will be stuck with Piniella and Hendry until the end of the season. Who's next? Ryne Sandberg as manager and Greg Maddux as GM. (I am not saying it's a good idea, but the writing is on the wall.)
Want another crazy idea? How about Bob Brenly as manager and Steve Stone as GM? Tony LaRussa as GM and manager? Is Leo Durocher still available?
Meanwhile, Dusty Baker is managing a first place team. Reality bites.