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    The Greg Maddux Watch: Stunning at 355

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      Is It Time To Panic?
    Cubs fans need not worry. The entire division is so bunched up that its like the season starts on Friday with the real team "Ace," Mark Prior, taking the mound. The Cubs have trotted out Glendon Rusch and Sergio Mitre in place of the injured stars, and have kept Chicago in the mix.

    The real problem? Hitting. Corey Patterson was quoted on the Score 670 AM "I am not going to apologize for being aggressive. I would rather swing at a ball in the dirt then strike out looking at a pitch down the middle." Truth is that Corey in his 200 plus plate appearances has swung at the first pitch over 80 times. That is the pitch that is a hurlers best chance in getting the hitter out. Corey has continued to believe he is a power hitter and is not even thinking about becoming a contact-ground ball speed guy that he should be. With his attitude he should be traded for whatever they can get because he is a cancer that cant make his teammates happy. Todd Hollandsworth should be given the centerfield job when Sosa comes back. On June 1st Patterson struck out not one but two times with the bases loaded. The Cubs then dropped the game 5-3 to the Astros. All he needed to do was lift a ball into the outfield and shorten up his swing. Corey MUST go!

    Another problem is the hitting of Derek Lee. He is exactly the opposite of Patterson. Lee gets the backwards "K" more times then he swings in an entire at-bat. He shows flashes of capability and then the next day turns around and loses whatever momentum he had the day before. I have more faith in Lee for that reason. He also cut Aramis Ramirez's error total in half already with his great glove. We'll keep an eye on Lee's progress.

    On the bright side Michael Barrett, Moises Alou, and Aramis Ramirez have hit the ball with consistency all season. The trio needs to be spread out in the lineup when everyone is healthy. My proposed lineup would be as follows:

    1. Grudzie/Walker 2B
    2. Lee 1B
    3. Sosa RF
    4. Alou LF
    5. Hollandsworth CF
    6. Ramirez 3B
    7. Gonzlaez SS
    8. Barrett C

    With this lineup, the run producers are evenly distributed and they arguably have the best players on the field.

    I would grade the Cubs with an "A" for the starting pitching, "C" for the bullpen, "C" for the offense, "A" for defense, and a "B" overall. They have withstood a great deal of injuries and managed to hang around.

    This will be an ongoing story I'm sure.