The Cubs entered 2012 without much in the way of championship expectations. Losing five of their first six has silenced even the most positive thinkers.
But CSN analyst Todd Hollandsworth isn't worrying about the Cubs' overall record right now.
No, he's more focused on the team doing the little things right.
"1-5 is going to leave a sour taste in your mouth," Hollandsworth said. "You have to look at the body of work. I have seen a different type of baseball than what I've seen in the past and that's been impressive so far.
"Do they have as much talent as the competition that they've gone up against? No, they don't, and that's a fact. Have they played better than expected? I think on some level they have. That being said, this is going to be a trying year for this ballclub. There's going to be a lot of battles. Each night is going to be a battle."
Hollandsworth points to the lack of firepower in the lineup as one of the reasons the Cubs may struggle to beat some of the top squads they go up against.
"This is a team that, at its best, is probably going to be scoring three or four runs a night," he said. "They're not going to score a ton of runs. They're going to rely on their starting pitching heavily and so far so good. The starting pitching has been lights out, outside of Maholm's start.
"They've been in every ballgame because the starting pitching has kept them there."
Starting pitching was the main weakness of the 2011 Cubs. They were last in the NL with a 4.79 rotation ERA. Only the Royals (4.82) and Orioles (5.39) were worse in all of baseball.
While he admits the offense is built to out-slug opponents, Hollandsworth isn't getting caught up in how many runs the offense puts up, especially in relation to the rest of the MLB.
"A lot of that levels itself out," he said. "Clearly, there's going to be better offensive teams. But there are more teams in the middle of that pack. You're talking about 20 teams that will probably be defined at the end of the year as very similar offensively.
"They may not hit as many home runs. But when you look at the number of runs that are scored, you end up talking about a difference of 15 runs over a 162 game season between the 7th best team and the 15th best run-scoring team."
The 12-year MLB veteran is on to something there. In 2011, just 39 runs separated the majors' sixth-best offense (Toronto at 743 runs scored) and the league's 16th-best offense (Cleveland at 704 runs). The Cubs were still 50 runs behind the Indians, but the point still stands -- there are top-heavy offensive teams (like the Red Sox, Yankees and this year, the Tigers) and then most of the other units fall right in the middle of the pack.
On paper, the Cubs figure to be toward the bottom of that middle grouping of offensive teams in 2012, but again, Hollandsworth is looking big picture.
"You have to do the small things in order to give yourself a chance to win," he said. "And the Cubs have been good about that. Hitting behind runners when you have runners in scoring position. Understanding counts, what you're looking to do with opportunities and RBI opportunities.
"That's an area where the Cubs have clearly struggled, not only in spring training but in the last few seasons...They don't have as much wiggle room as far as competing and being able to go out there and win each and every day. They have to do a lot of things right.
"I think it's important to look for small victories. Even in a defeat, especially since there's been more defeats than victories so far this season. Offensively, the power hasn't been there. We've only had a couple home runs to date. But I will say this: We've seen aggressive baserunning, we've seen walks, we've seen good at-bats. Good signs for a team building and trying to get better.
"I'm looking for incremental progress this year and so far, so good."