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5/12/2006

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: JUNE SWOON IN MAY

Bonus for Cubs fans--the June swoon has arrived in May! The Chicago Cubs lost to San Diego today to run their record to 2-10 in May. Cubs postgame analyst, former ragged-arm lefty Dan Plesac, called it the worst performance by the Cubs in the 2006 season. Last Sunday on local TV I saw Sporting News Radio's Arnie Spanier emphatically say it was over. It's hard to disagree with that.

The ESPN game recap headline read: "Piazza, with four hits, leads Padres past sloppy Cubs". Mike Piazza is on the Padres. That's weird to me. But anyway, the Cubs threw the ball all over the place. Cedeno threw one into the dugout, wrongly thinking the ball was dead. Perez threw one away. Michael Barrett was all indignant that Dave Roberts bunted with the Pads up big. He confronted him and had words. I wish instead he had hits. He was 0-4.

Glendon Rusch looks like a really bad American League pitcher. He's afraid to throw strikes and gets behind in counts early. Anything he throws over the plate gets smoked. Rusch gave up 7 hits and 5 earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. The Cubs brought Rusch in after Angel Guzman threw 87 pitches through only 3 innings. He walked 5. He's just not ready.

So after those 2 the Cubs proceeded to burn through 4 more pitchers--Williamson, Eyre, Howry and Dempster. 6 pitchers in total; another taxing day for the pen--188 pitches in total for Cubbie pitchers.

Baker had Mabry at first and Hairston in right. It's May so I'm not quite sure why he would let his best lefty in Walker and the heating up Jacque Jones have a day off, especially against a righty.

But what can we expect? No Prior or Wood. No DLee. Cedeno batted 3rd today and John Mabry batted 6th. Our slugging 3rd baseman is hitting .217. Halfway through May it's no longer a slow start; he's having a bad year. Our new leadoff hitter isn't much better than the last--Pierre is hitting .238, with an anemic on-base percentage of .273 and a brutal sluggin percentage of .296. Out of the 183 MLB players that qualify, Pierre is 175 in OPS. It kind of reminds you of Patterson, doesn't it? This season reminds me of last year too.

4 comments:

Brett said...

Zoner,

Just finished 3 Nights in August by Buzz Bissinger. Great book, I highly recommend it, especially for you Cubs fans. Help you understand why we Cards are usually (almost always) looking down in the standings to see you.

Hate to see your team implode so early in the season...makes our division race less interesting.

Feel the love?

PV said...

Brett, I am a Cubs fan that just finished Three Nights in August myself, and if there's one thing I'm certain of is that LaRussa would never have to say, as Dusty did recently about a rookie Padres catcher who beat them two games in a row, that "we have to learn how we're supposed to pitch that guy." LaRussa and Duncan are nothing if not prepared, while Dusty clearly doesn't have time for the details, dude.

Just another fun fact from yesterday's game: while the Padres were seeing 188 pitches on the way to 10 walks, the Cubs drew one walk and saw only 92 (!) pitches against the immortal Clay Hensley. I really think that disparity says it all about this team and Dusty's regime, and until reversing that walk disparity becomes a priority, this team and organization will not be able to sustain any success.

My only hope now is that it gets so bad that they have to get rid of Dusty. And if you saw and heard him after yesterday's game, they really have no choice: he is a sad and defeated man.

The Zoner said...

Yes he is. He talked of drinking scotch Saturday night, but I don't think it was a "it's the weekend I'm happy I drinky scotch" type deal.

He's also referred to the Cubs "having a lot of breaks coming".

On local radio the Dusty debate is heating up. One sports talker claims you can't blame Dusty for injuries, for Pierre, Ramirez or Rusch's bad performance. Agreed. But you can blame him for the absolute heinous baserunning and airheadedness in the Cubs play. You can also bet your backside that had another guy, say Leyland or Bobby Cox, seen Juan Pierre and Neifi Perez doing their little dance before the game they would have been balled out if not punched out.

PV said...

Yes, that is the logical counter-argument, that you can't blame Dusty for injuries and three rookie starters, and well duh, no one disagrees there as you said. I had that same conversation this weekend. But all you have to do is watch the games--they're beating themselves, with walks and errors and free swinging and just bad baseball. And that's where the manager is accountable.

And if this were the first bad stretch like this under Dusty, he'd be getting sympathy for what he's had to work with. But this is the third year of this crap. Since Bartman, it's been nothing but underachieving, a whole less than the sum of its parts.