Goatriders of the Apocalypse

The Litany Against Lou Piniella

April 23rd, 2009

To: Lou Piniella
From: the Cub Fan Nation (in gen.) and The Goat Riders of the Apocalypse (in part.)

Mr. Piniella, it has come to our attention at this, the 11th hour of April the 23rd in the Year of Our Lord 2009 that you are failing in your duties to guide the Chicago Cubs toward the World Series.  The litany of crimes follows.

  • You insist on batting a man capable of hitting 30-40 homeruns leadoff.  This same individual, while displaying prodigious amounts of speed, is not known for his plate discipline. 
  • You have placed yourself in an indefensible position with Neal Cotts in the bullpen.  By now he presents no surprises, yet you chose to turn your only other Major League-capable lefty into a starter despite having at least one other qualified option to pitch in the rotation (Aaron Heilman).  Since the start of the season Cotts has displayed no ability to pitch well in any given situation.  But rather than force him to work his way through the situations he causes, you elect to immediately pull him and turn to some other schmuck (usually Carlos Marmol) to save the day. 
  • In order to compensate for the Cotts abortion, you have chosen to release a relief pitcher with a 0.00 ERA and a sub-1 WHIP in order to replace him with another reliever who got beaten like a pinata by major league hitters in Spring Training.
  • You insist on using Derrek Lee as your 3-hitter despite the fact that even when productive his numbers are better suited for somebody batting 5th or 6th. 

Understand, Mr. Piniella, that none of us wish to contest your superiority to the team's former manager Dusty Baker.  You're like cake to his turpentine.  But while you have given the Cubs what they needed back in 2007 - structure, discipline, a fairly-constructed starting lineup - you have failed to take the next step: manage the team in a strategic way which improves their chances of winning.

We understand that there are reasons - dare we call them excuses? - for your decisions.  They're just really, really bad ones.  And while I would never claim to know how to manage a baseball team better than you, the issues I presently am voicing are written from common sense

Therefore, Mr. Piniella, the Goat Riders of the Apocalypse can no longer endorse you as the manager of the Chicago Cubs.  We will question your every move, scrutinize your every mistake, and shout loudly to the heavens your every idiotic blunder. 

But I most say, sir, that it is not yet too late.  We do not hate you, nor do we wish to see you fired.  We believe that - like Saddam in the South Park movie - you can change.  We may still choose to support you at a later date.  Or we may take the next step and demand that you be let out to pasture before your senior moments cost the Cubs a pennant.

Sincerely,
The Goat Riders of the Apocalypse

Yeah. Who knows on some of

Yeah. Who knows on some of this stuff.

With Soriano, there appears to be some difference in his approach at the plate with runners on. Over the course of his career, Soriano bats .291 with the bases empty, and .267 with runners on. In contrast, Aramis Ramirez hits .277 with the bases empty, and .293 with runners on (including a .367 average with the bases loaded--nice!). Actually, I've checked a few other Cubs starters as well, and it doesn't seem like anyone else has this sort of drop-off with runners on. Who knows what that's worth.

The Cotts/Vizcaino thing, yeah. I've read things about attitude? Not sure it's worth $4mil to have the moral high ground. I'm scouring the data here and not really coming up with a reason why Vizcaino can't pitch. He looks like a decent reliever. Maybe the problem is, he's only really been good at getting out righties in his career, which is redundant given our current 'pen make up?

The Lee thing... yeah. From his numbers, it looks like he's having a swing issue. It's not the ground balls that are killing "DP Lee," but the pop flies. In fact, 23% of Lee's batted balls have been infield flies. So it's not that he's just lofting it out powerlessly to outfielders, but he's just not getting solid contact, and flipping them up to the infield.

I really don't hate Soriano hitting leadoff, because I don't trust him in clutch situations. I feel like his strike zone gets so much larger when he feels pressure to knock in some RBIs; my theory is supported by his lower batting average with runners on. The bullpen needs to find a way to gain an advantage over clutch lefties, and despite shitty control (which has always afflicted NC), Cotts has the stuff to do it, if he can just find the strike zone before July. And Lee will in fact come around to hit .290 with 20hr. It's a bad month, that's all.

Agreed?

I'm not sure why

...you people give Kurt 5 stars when HE bitches, but you put ME on blast whenever I do.

You all know how I feel about Lee batting third.

I'm not sure I can fault Lou though for Soriano. Who else is going to hit leadoff? Soriano does have 9 walks already this year. That ain't bad.

Cotts throws with his left hand, and I have a feeling the whole Vizcaino deal went down about things OFF the field, not on the field. Sure, Vizcaino has not given up a run. Lou hasn't trusted him in a single game situation...there's more to it that just Cotts vs. Vizcaino.

What I am upset with Lou about is his gradual decline into sluggishness. There's been several times this year we could have used a little fire out of the dugout, and perhaps for him to protect his players - the Bradley ejection for one. Mr. "I'll play the guys who are doing well". You know the names of the guys hitting under .200 this year. He keeps running them out there.

Just a matter of degrees...

My guess is that if the Cubs were 10-4 instead of 8-6, all would be gravy in Cub-Land.

They scored 1 run in two losses to the Reds. Not Lou's fault.

batting order

Something that has yet to be pointed out about players picking out where they hit in the line up. I believe we had a second baseman who preferred to hit second in the line up and no matter how much the press and fans complained that he should be hitting lower in the lineup that is where he stayed. This player is one of our hall of fame god's aka as Ryno.

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