It's not all Dusty's fault
Now, those of you who know me know better than to think that I would Contrive a POV just to be different.
So when I look at the complete third-world refugee camp shambles that is our bullpen, as you most certainly are, I am going to assign blame, as you would. It is certainly fashionable right now to lay the Blame for the up-and-down, disabled-list, elbow-torn-from-bone disheveled bullpen on Dusty Baker.
Certainly, he earns Moron-of-the-New-Millenium status for throwing his newly ordained, crystalline-fragile closer out there to hold a seven run lead, only to watch him literally Dravecky on us. But I have a lot of time to sit, and watch, and think about what I have seen, and without running through mounds of numbers, here's who I blame for the sad, sad condition of our bullpen:
- The So-called Vaunted Cubs Starting Rotation.
The touchy-and-tender Mark Prior is going six innings a start. The brittle-and-cranky Kerry Wood is going five. The volatile-and-crazy Carlos Zambrano might go eight, or he might not make it through five before he is given the heave-ho. Dumpster just sucks, and Maddux should start completing games any month now.
I figure the average Cub start is 5+, which means we have to use 3+ of bullpen every day, more when we were stuck in that extra-inning rut when the Brewers were in town. By contrast, the average Cub start in 2003 was almost seven innings, which really means that an extra man (or two) from the shallow-end of the bullpen talent pool is being burnt up every day.
I know the excuses by heart, but the fact remains that if the starters were executing like you would expect "top-flight" starting pitchers to, you would never see a Leicester, Novoa or any other genetically short-changed trolls in the sixth inning.
It ain't all on Dusty. You can thank Wood, Prior, and especially the Formerly Beloved Z for their lack of "staying power", if you catch my drift.
And I think you do....I'm sending them all a tube of Maxiderm now.