"What kind of baseball are you playing?"
Yes, in this past series Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez and John Grabow all did their part to kill us, and yes, worry about the three of them is appropriate at this time. However, based on past performances, DLee will come around, probably soon. I am still not convinced that ARam isn't recovering from some kind of illness, which results in the lethargy he is showing at the plate. As for Grabow, WYSIWYG. He is a 4-plus ERA guy, one that throws with his left hand. I did and still do believe that he belongs in a major league bullpen, but not for the salary he is currently making, and certainly NOT in the 8th inning Holder role.
A loss in April counts exactly the same as a loss in August or any other month, so do be concerned that a healthy amount of our team's financial resources are devoted to three men who are not getting the job done. But you know who else isn't getting the job done? Someone who, frankly, scares me much more than DLee or ARam or even Grabow.
The dude with the enormous gut wearing number 41 is really making my head swim lately.
Up until the end of 2008, I unconditionally backed our manager Lou Piniella. When he opined that we lost the 2008 NLDS because of a lack of left-handed hitting was when I first started to question his acumen. Last year, perhaps, even God could not have won a division with the combination of injuries and unmotivated individuals on the Cubs. But it appeared that, rather than bashing himself off of the bugzapper, Lou chose to disengage, to lay low and not fight the strong tide of negativity that washed over us.
Yeah, he called Milton Bradley a piece of feces, and he more than likely induced Jim Hendry to eventually suspend said sack of schist. But his evasive actions were nowhere close to sufficient or effective, and frankly I don't think he did a good job of managing the Cubs last year. I think he gave up, he acted like a doddering old fool, and entering this season, I needed to be convinced. I need to be swayed, because right now, I don't think he is the man for the job anymore.
Last week, he sent his highest paid pitcher to the bullpen, and coincidentally we then swept the Brewers and beat the Nationals in our first game with them. For those of you who declared "Ah, Lou is a genius. He sent a message to his team, and they responded," let's play a game. Look at my thumb.
/blogger uses his other hand to whack you upside the head
Gee, you're dumb. We wond those games because Jeff Suppan, Doug Davis, Dave Bush, and Brian Bruney really suck. It wasn't because Uncle Lou put the fear of God in his players.
And now, we have another example that supports the notion that he ought to be fishing for grouper back home in Tampa. On a team who has been notorious the past 180 games for piss poor situational hitting, in the bottom of the 8th, down a run, man on second, no outs, and a 9-for-9 closer in the other team's pen...and it doesn't even OCCUR to him to bunt the runner to third?
No, he's going to let his team swing away. The same team who, yes, has inflated RISP stats from their dalliances with a pathetic Brewer pitching staff, but against everyone else has froze up tighter than Sister Mary Margaret's nunhole? In every sport in every country in the world, at the end of games, you Play for a Tie at Home, and a Win on the Road. The stats bear it out. Move Byrd to third, so with one out a hit, a fly ball, a wild pitch, a Christian Guzman error, a brain fart by Big Donkey Dunn, any kind of incident, we have a tie game, we don't have to see Matt Capps and have 300,000 weenies lament that we should have signed him last year instead of Grabow.
Know what? I agree. Capps is the superior ex-Pirate reliever over Grabow. However, with even an average replacement-level manager (WORM?) this team should be over .500, even without the Great Matt Capps. But instead we have a guy who is livid (and when Lou gets pee'd, he starts calling everyone Sir, like he's some sort of reform school kid) because he does not regard having a runner at third with one out in the 8th inning of a close game to be an acceptable situation.
No, he'd rather sit back and expect the Chicago Cubs to win the game with clutch base hits. Since the only guy on the team with a demonstrated track record of situational hitting is currently walking around with his shirt hanging off his body and hitting less than his wife's weight....any responsible, intelligent baseball manager would actively and explicitly order moves designed to get that tying run over the plate by any means possible. Then, and only then, after the game is tied, then the manager can sit back and hope for divine providence in the form of clutch hits from unlikely sources.
The fact that he got so pissed tells me that he is not only out of touch with conventional baseball strategy, but more importantly, out of touch with the abilities of his players and his team.
You can make up your own mind on what conclusion I have just drawn.