Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Anyone But Cinci

Have you seen this team's offense the last two games? Pathetic.

"WHAT?!?!" you scream. Seven runs last night, nine before that, what the hell's wrong with the offense.

What's wrong is the sickening number of runners left on third base with less than two outs.

Inning The First. Hairston stranded on third by Derrek Lee (who gets a pass considering the rest of his season) and Jeromy Burnitz (who I just don't trust).

Inning The Second. Aramis Ramirez, after a leadoff double, sees Neifi Perez retired on two pitches. After a Blanco walk, Prior goes down on a foul tip.

Inning The First. Two runs in, one out. Ramirez walks and is doubled to third by Michael Barrett. Burnitz pops out on pitch #1. Neifi strikes out on four pitches.

These are just a few examples. They get ignored because the Cubs win both games. Here's a little tip. The Cardinals won't let you get away with dumb play like that. Neither will any of the playoff caliber teams.

If the Cubs were to play like this against anyone but Cinci, they'd lose both these games.

Bossman Knows

The only good thing is that Dusty seems to know this. "We should have scored a lot more runs," said Baker. "We had four or five situations where we just wanted a sacrifice fly."

Dusty also seems to know what has become clear to this writer: Jerry Hairston is not a long term solution at leadoff. Fred Mitchell's Cubs Notes includes this nugget:

Baker offered a tepid endorsement of new leadoff hitter Jerry Hairston, who has replaced the demoted Corey Patterson in that role.

"[Hairston] is doing pretty good. We still want him to stay out of [hitting the ball in] the air," Baker said. "We want him to be more aggressive running on the bases too. But he's getting better."

Combine this with Jim Hendry's WSCR interview yesterday where he singled out Juan Pierre as the prototypical leadoff man every team would like to have, and it becomes obvious that the Cubs are going to try to obtain a leadoff hitter.

Great. What have you been waiting for? You've needed one since the day Kenny Lofton signed with the Yankees. Something makes me think there are times when Jim Hendry might fail to see something obvious coming. Like winter.

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