May 18, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Scott Feldman (46) is congratulated in the dugout during the seventh inning against the New York Mets at Wrigley Field. Chicago won 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Cubs: The Lovable Competitors?

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Peanut Butter and Jelly. Macaroni and Cheese. Chips and Salsa. There are certain pairings that just belong to one another. For the Chicago Cubs, they have a pairing of their own. Because the team has gone 104 years since last winning a World Series, the Cubs have been closely associated with losing.

That pairing has been the ammunition for many Major League Baseball comedians as many simply expect the Cubs to lose. That has been no different this season. Because of the early season miscues by closer Carlos Marmol, many have used the Cubs as a punchline this season.  Though, that practice no longer appears to be accurate.

Look at the standings around Major League Baseball.

The Chicago Cubs are currently 18-25. That record is good enough for only fourth place in the National League Central division. That certainly is not going to garner the attention of out-of-town analysts, but for a team that loss 101 games last season, the Cubs appear to be inching closer and closer to being a competitive baseball team.

The Cubs’ 18-25 record this season should be far from the punchline for the 2013 Major League Baseball season. The Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Angels, and Los Angeles Dodgers all have star-studded teams and were projected for post-season success in 2013. What else do those three teams have in common? On May 20, all three of those teams have a worse record than the Cubs.

Each of those three teams have taken a step back in the first two months of the Major League Baseball season, while the Cubs have taken a step forward.

The Cubs were not expected to contend in 2013, but the team was expected to be competitive. That is what the Cubs have been this season. To prove that, look no further than the team’s run differential. In the 43 games that the Cubs have played this season, the team has a run differential of -3. Meaning when the Cubs win, the team is not blowing out their opponents; and when the Cubs lose, they are not being blown out by their opponent. Simply put, the Cubs have been competitive this season.

The Cubs are known for providing comic relief, though, that is an association that Theo Epstein and the Cubs’ front office have been trying to rid the team of over the past two years. With the way that the Cubs have played this season, the organization is well on the way of doing so.

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Tags: Chicago Cubs Los Angeles Angels Los Angeles Dodgers Theo Epstein Toronto Blue Jays

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