In the Second Half …

After an average first half, how will the Cubs perform in the second half? With 86 down and 76 games left to play the Cubs have been the epitome of a .500 team. For a four-game stretch they will look unbeatable, then for a four-day stretch they can look as if they have forgotten how to play the game. The Cubs have underachieved but at 43-43 and just 3 ½ game back of the Cardinals in the division, anything is possible at this point.

It is time to put the first half in the past and focus on the remaining 76 games of the 2009 season. As Piniella pointed out on Sunday night, he feels the Cubs have enough to win the division as long as they stay healthy, get healthy and swing the bats … One of the main areas the Cubs must improve on in the second half is their play away from Wrigley Field. The Cubs are 27-18 at the Friendly Confines and 16-25 on the road. They have played more home games (45) to this point than road games (41) and have tough trips ahead of them. Aramis Ramirez back in the lineup should help as well as getting Geovany Soto back in a month. But Lou Piniella might want to look at a new lineup to manufacture more runs, especially on the road against top tier pitching.

The Tribune recently asked their readers what lineup Lou Piniella should trot out to start the second half, but how would the Faithful arrange the batting order to try and get the most out of the players on the current roster? The Cubs ‘hot one day‘, ‘cold the next‘ offense is not going to cut it in the second half and it is past time for the offense to carry the pitching staff.

So with the final off day of the All-Star break, let’s have a little lineup debate at the CCO. Who would you hit where and why? Remember Milton Bradley has declared himself back and Jake Fox did a little catching on Sunday night. So with the players currently on the 25-man roster, how would you arrange your starting eight?

Also, what are your keys to the second half? Is it Alfonso Soriano? Milton Bradley? The pitching staff? Adding a arm in the pen?

And please remember the CCO’s motto … Stay Classy Cubs fans.