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Falling off the Peleton...

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

The Tour de France is about ready to get going this year, and its time for some cycling metaphors. Jim Hendry and Dusty Baker have made several comments that the team is gonna just try and "draft" for a while until they get healthy and then make a run at it. However, in baseball, especially when you are playing within your division there is no such thing as drafting. You either win, or you lose. You either move ahead in the standings or you fall behind.

Since the Cubs have gone 8 and 13 since their off day May 17, the Cubs are definitely falling behind.

Today's game reminded me of the mid-90's Cubs. In a 4-12 loss, the Cardinals took complete advantage of an over matched Cubs pitching staff, with a manager who didn't know when to take the ball from his pitchers. In Prior's second start of the season, he had a horrible outing, allowing 5 runs in 3.2 innings. He walked 5 and left the mound after giving up a grand slam to Edgar Renteria.

Troublesome tactitioner Dusty managed the Club today. (As opposed to masterful motivator Dusty.) After walking the bases loaded, Dusty allowed Prior to pitch to Renteria which is something that his pitchers supposedly appreciate. Dusty sticks with his guys and allows them to work out of their own jams. On the other hand, when a guy has given up 4 hits and 5 walks in 3 innings, he isn't going to get out of an inning and just turn it around the next inning... even if his name is Mark Prior. Following Renteria's grand salami, Beltran retired Marlon Anderson on 3 pitches.

My next opportunity to second guess Dusty's tactics occured in the 5th inning when Dusty sent Glendon Rusch up to pinch hit. I realize the bench is short, but if it is important enough to pinch hit then use an actual hitter, and not a pitcher. Now, I realize that Dusty was going to pull Leicester and Rusch wasn't gonna pitch, but why not call on Zambrano or Wood? My second point isn't a real strong argument, but I was yelling at the TV, so it gets included.

Finally, the tactical error that got me angriest was when Dusty had Renteria intentionally walked in the eighth inning. There was one out in the eighth with Tony Womack standing on second. Dusty walked Renteria to put the double play in order against Ray Lankford. However, following Lankford, the following Cardinals were due to bat: Scott Rolen, Jim Edmonds, and Reggie Sanders (with gimpy Albert Pujols on the bench.) Now, it should be pointed out that Scott Rolen had already hit an RBI double in the first and driven in 5 during the previous two games. Nor was Rolen's production against the Cubs a fluke like Mr. Mackowiak's baby birthing bashing spree. No, Mr. Rolen is sitting pretty atop the NL with 63 Ribbies through 59 games and is on pace to drive in 173. By walking Renteria, Dusty did not take the opportunity to get Edgar out and thus ensured that Rolen would come up with men in scoring postion unless Lankford hit into two. The result was another four innings scored immediately following Lankford's sac fly.

Drowned in the onslaught of Cardinal runs this series has been C-Pat's emergence from his slump. In the first thee games against the Cards, the much boo-ed centerfielder is hitting .333 with a .385 OBP. He has hit 2 dingers, and driven in 3.

Watched a bit of Basketball last night. Haven't watched much since the Bulls were broken up, but the Finals were on after the Cubs. Kobe Bryant was spectacular, and hit a jaw dropping 3 to force overtime. With about 2 or 3 minutes left in regulation, Kobe drove to the hoop and scored on what looked a bit like a finger roll. After watching that play, it reminded me a bit of MJ. Oh well, I wish the Bulls weren't horrible.

Posted by Byron at June 9, 2004 9:18 PM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
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