This is why God made the baseball season 162 games long -- well, one of the reasons. The other being to torture Cub fans.
The last week and a half has truly been abysmal from the perspective of a Cubs fan who has seen his/her team the last two years jump out to hot April starts. The lack of offense, the injuries, the absence of a dominant force in the rotation ... there's plenty to complain about, but only one sixth of the season is complete, so it's useless to start jumping to conclusions.
For one, look at the MLB standings. No team, even the 4-15 Nationals, are out of first by more than 7 games. The Cubs are 3 games out and the last-place Astros are only 5 out. Anyone could turn around, get hot and tear up the division. April was the Cardinals' month. May could be the Cubs.
That's the macro take. If you sift through the Cubs' April .500-baseball junk pile, there's stuff to worry about and stuff not to worry about.
Not to worry about:
Tip of the hat to Alfonso Soriano. Boy, has this guy stepped up. Leading the team in at-bats and pulling together a .313 average with an NL-leading (tied with several others) 7 home runs, he's really been a hero. With injuries taking Ramirez, Bradley and Lee out of the line-up, you'd think the Cubs would fall below .500 and they haven't.
Another person to thank: Mr. April. No, not Jason Marquis. Kosuke Fukudome. Fifth best batting average in the National League as of today. Oh yeah, and he leads the team with RBI. The idea here of course is to get that nickname scratched from the record, but without his production in the 3, 4 or 5 spots depending who is injured that day, this offense would be in shambles.
To worry about:
Geovany Soto. Beginner's luck would be a horrible way to describe the 2008 NL Rookie of the Year 5 years from now. Koyie Hill has 3x the run production, twice the hits and all in 15 less at-bats. Until Soto puts some nice games together offensively, you can bet he'll be spelled every few days at the least. 5-for-42. It's sad, and he doesn't have anything other than one season to prove he'll get better. Let's hope that's really all the proof he needs.
Derrek Lee's consistency. He's doing okay driving in runs and he'll always have those 4-for-5 days every couple of weeks, but he just doesn't have it anymore ... it being what he brought to this team when he came from Florida. And the injuries. It's too bad the Padres need everything but a first baseman, because Lee would be pretty enticing in getting Jake Peavy over here for real.
To sum up April, don't panic works nicely. The Cubs can't let a divisional foe like the Reds' pitching staff continue to look like a 5-of-a-kind aces. Splitting the season series with the Cardinals so far is definitely respectable at this point and that's really all there is. I don't think there's a cure for score-too-many-runs-in-one-game-and-none-in-others disease, but it would be nice to start spreading out run production instead of following up a 7-2 loss by bludgeoning the D'backs 11-3.