Well one three games series surely isn't a season, but we can definitely make a few observations from the recent series in Cincinnati. Of course, the Reds performances are of little interest to me and I'll focus just on our Beloved Men In Blue.
First, the starting pitching performed well enough to at least win 2 of 3 instead of the other way around. Since most in the baseball world will concede a teams rotation is the biggest component to it's success, we should be pleased with the starters performances so far. The bullpen, reportedly the strength of the Cubs pitching this year, evidently thought the memo from Uncle Lou, to throw strikes and not walk anyone was meant just for the starters. Let's face it, walks are never a good thing but for a bullpen pitcher they are sure death. That needs to change.
Second, the defense performed average at best. Michael Barrett can't throw and is average at best fielding behind the plate. I know he's an above average hitter, especially for his position, but the truth of the matter is that your catcher is one of the most important defensive positions on the team. There is no reason Blanco shouldn't get 50 or so starts behind the plate regardless of his offense. Jacque Jones can't throw but is the best defensive outfielder on the team. Can anyone tell me why he's not in CF where his arm wouldn't be anywhere near the liability it is in RF? There is a reason most teams are willing to sacrifice offense for defense behind the plate and place their best oufielder in CF, they want to win! Defense never goes into a slump and hopefully Piniella will make these adjustments.
Lastly, the offense has been less than spectacular. This probably is the hardest aspect of the Cubs performance to effectively asses after just three games, but when men are in scoring position and consistently not being driven in, there is always cause for concern.
The Cubs have spent a lot of money on new players and a new manager. It is imperative Piniella continually evaluate this team and make changes accordingly.