Belated Series Preview: Cubs vs. Reds
A long time ago, the Chicago Cubs hired a multi-award winning manager who'd just come thisclose to getting his former baseball team a World Series ring. Of course, we were all pretty stoked about that. And nobody was too concerned with why a baseball team that just reached the World Series would let their Manager of the Year-award winning skipper walk away.
About a million years later - or maybe it just felt that way - Dusty Baker departed the Cubs a failure. Our anger toward him was only tempered by one, glorious fact - he signed on to manage a division rival with a considerably impressive farm system. In other words, that was one less team to worry about.
Although, I have to admit, I sure felt sorry for those guys. It's not easy being a fan without a glimmer of hope for the future. And as long as Dusty managed the Reds, hope was gonna be in short supply.
However, much like the 2003/2004 Cubs, some teams are just too damned talented to not compete, regardless of whatever managerial bunglings they may be forced to play through. And that appears to be the case of the 2010 Reds.
In a way, a Dusty Baker playoff bound team is worse than a Dusty Baker basement bound team, because now there's a chance that Baker will return in 2011. Harsh, Reds fans. Harsh.
Saturday, August 28th - Randy Wells (5-12, 4.56 ERA) vs. Bronson Arroyo (14-7, 3.82 ERA)
It feels as if Arroyo has been around forever. I still remember when he was that constipated-looking Red Sox pitcher who contributed just enough grit to get them a World Series ring. This year, though, he's made pitching look easy, as he's leading the Reds in wins and has notched the 100th of his career.
He faces Randy Wells, who just might be pitching his way off the Cubs rotation for next year. Think I'm wrong? Let's continue this discussion in April, 2011.
Sunday, August 29th - Casey Coleman (1-1, 5.68 ERA) vs. Edison Volquez (3-2, 6.17 ERA)
Coleman, who is 23, is just another of the Cubs' "throw crap against the wall" strategy that's yet to find anything which sticks. Who knows - when the Cubs surprise us next season by competing for the Wild Card, it'll be guys like Coleman who make it happen.
He faces Victim 4 (or is it more like Victim 10) of the Dusty Baker School of Pitchernomics. Three seasons ago, Volquez was 24, and he was a 17-win, 206 strikeout pitcher in Dusty's inaugural campaign. Then, in 2009, Volquez caught Tommy John Disease (big shocker there).
He's back now, having recuperated while also suspended due to using PEDs (newsflash: pretty much any pitcher who's ever had Tommy John surgery and come back in less than 12 months did it on PEDs). I kind of wonder if his use of the growth (or whatever) wasn't done, in part, on the hopes that by the time he'd return, Dusty Baker*'d be long gone.
(Dusty's Indian name is Pitcher Destroyer)
Well, the Cubs already got their asses handed to them once this series. The Reds are now 4 games ahead of the Cardinals. Of course, there are a lot of Cub fans out there who are pulling for them, and I can understand why. a) It keeps St. Louis out. b) It keeps Dusty Baker employed.
However, I find myself sort of hating the Reds. Joey Votto is a dick. Watching them collapse in the last month of the season just might be the kind of sports enjoyment I could get behind.