I'll get this over with quick, I like writing about the Cubs about as much as I like being stabbed in the eye.
Chicago Cubs: At 41-41 you can say that they are underachieving, but are they really? I'm more inclined to say the Cubs just aren't as good as they were made out to be. Injuries have been a problem in the first half, with Aramis Ramirez missing a substantial amount of time, Reed Johnson missing time and now Ryan Dempster breaking his toe. Chicago has gotten some good looks out of rookie Jake Fox though, he just needs a place to plant his below average defense.
The Good: Derrek Lee(left) overcome his monumental early season struggles, in an attempt to prove his still has some game left. Ryan Theriot has hit seven home runs and kept his average at .291. Rookie pitcher Randy Wells has been dynamite so far, with an ERA of 2.48 in his eleven starts, he has been one of their most consistent starters.
The Bad: This may take a while. Let's start with GM Jim Hendry, who traded away Mark DeRosa and gave up Casey McGehee for nothing, both of those players would have been a big boost when Ramirez was hurt and could have helped an underperforming bench. He also signed Milton Bradley(right) to a multi-year deal, which looks to be the worst free agent signing of the offseason. Rich Harden has been terrible, with and ERA over five and giving up 15 home runs in 69 innings. Alfonso Soriano has struggled mightily and is starting to look old. As a team Chicago has the worst batting average in the Central, and has scored the least amount of runs. And in the NL Central, there is only one team with a worse road record.
What to Expect: Aramis Ramirez will be returning to the lineup soon, that should give the Cubs a big boost. The injury to Ryan Dempster could be very damaging, if he does end up missing the next month the Cubs will be hard pressed to replace him. While Derrek Lee has had a nice run over the last month or so, don't expect that to last, he's not getting any younger. It doesn't seem like the Cubs will be active in the trade market this year, because they don't have the prospects and because their just aren't many players to be had.
Outlook: The Brewers will see the Cubs seven more times, all in September, including a four-game set at Wrigley Field. If a second consecutive postseason appearance is in the cards, Milwaukee must go 5-2 in those seven games.