Friday, September 10, 2004

Make It So.....

These are the words Dusty should use to his team... "Just Make It So". No excuses for the next 4 games, you just need to win them (at least 3 out of 4).

Here's some numbers:

Cubs 7th in Runs Scored, Marlins 11th
Cubs 11th in OBP, Marlins 10th
Cubs 2nd in SLG, Marlins 11th

Cubs 4th in Team ERA, Marlins 5th
Cubs 3rd K/BB ratio, Marlins 6th

Very similar teams, with the Cubs power hitters giving them the nod. The wind is supposed to blow out the first 3 games, so that's good news for the Cubs hitters. McKeon last year did laps around Baker in the playoffs, lets all pray it doesn't happen again. If the Cubs lose the 2nd game of today's doubleheader to a kid just called up from single 'A', there is no way I can possibly have anymore faith for this team.

A lot of people want to blame Baker for this team's supposed underachievement. You're all welcome to, but he's certainly not the sole responsible party. Here is the way I see it in no particular order:

1) INJURIES - I'll have to do it more scientific but I'm pretty positive there isn't a team still in the playoff hunt who has lost as many key players than the Cubs have this year for an extended period of time. Throw in all the nagging injuries to Garciaparra, Sosa, Ramirez, etc and it's not easy playing baseball.

2)BULLPEN - Blame Baker but I don't think his usage patterns were all that different than any other manager, with what he got. I blame Hendry on this one. He's been a great GM so far except in this area, he gave out a very bad contract to Remlinger last year (3 yrs for a guy in his mid 30's) and keeps saying he plans to upgrade the bullpen and it hasn't really worked. Hawkins was a good deal, Mercker has been respectful, and well I don't know who to blame Farnsworth on. I still believe he should have made a deadline deal for a reliable reliever. They're always available and signing K.Foulke over Hawkins would have been even better. (or both and not sign Remlinger, Mercker and a few other stiffs the last couple of years)

3)Sosa - He's a shell of the player he's been...hate to say it. Everybody in the league has his scouting report memorized, low and outside breaking balls and high fastballs. Don't waste your time with anything else. He's defense is bad and I'm being kind and more than anything he hasn't adjusted all season. He's nothing to fear anymore.

4)Baker - The only thing I really blame him for is the Cubs atrocious OBP. From day 1 of spring training he has deemphasized walks and patience and it has hurt the team. Think he would have learned from Mr. Bonds in San Fran. A lot of fans get angry at Alou and Garciaparra for their first pitch hacking ways, but I assume none of those fans played a game of baseball in there life. Both those guys are REALLY good fastball hitters, in general you're going to get a fastball early in the count cause the pitcher wants to get ahead, are they supposed to wait until the count is 1-2 and they're being thrown a bunch of offspeed stuff? I don't think so. Both of those guys have been very good hitters for awhile now and yes they won't walk a lot cause they swing early but they have value in putting the ball in play and hitting over .300 most of their career with good power. As for Sosa, Lee, and the rest of the team minus T. Walker and Hollandsworth well I don't know what their excuse is so I blame Baker on this one.

Minor problems - Prior, nagging injuries, bad baserunning team, Wendell Kim, wacky lineup construction.

I'll be tuned to MLB radio and WGN all weekend. Playoff time Cubbies!!!


At September 10, 2004 at 11:31 PM, Blogger James said...

Yes the team has suffered injuries... nagging injuries aside (every team has those), the Cubs were relatively healthy and "in control of their own destiny" not too long ago.

They might have rolled to a playoff spot without the myriad injuries, but they blew their lead on the Wild Card after getting their "two best pitchers" back.

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