Creeping Inexorably Toward A Worthwhile Sub-Heading.
Thursday, August 28, 2003
The Real Problem
Last night the Cubs bullpen blew a two run lead in the 8th inning. Well, let me alter that statement a bit. The management of the Cubs bullpen blew a two run lead last night.
Look, I don't want to pile on Dusty, but I just can't understand the decisions that were made last night. First, Alf was brought in. Unless you have at least a five run cushion, this is not a good idea. However, despite my belief that he wasn't the best option, he did not pitch badly. Or, I should say, his one pitch wasn't bad. Pujols pounded it into the ground, which is exactly what you would like him to do in that situation. Problem is, it happened to go up the middle where nobody could get it. Not Alf's fault. However, now he's failed to get his man, you have to take him out. Edmonds is up next, and lefties have pounded Alf to the tune of .341/.424/.435. He's got to go.
Fine, he's gone, so in comes Guthrie. But for a couple of close calls he would have had Edmonds, but the calls didn't go his way, and Edmonds got the hit. This is where I really get lost. Guthrie is not a LOOGY. His lifetime splits are nearly even, and this year he's actually fared a little better against right handers. But the point is, not only has he fared well against right handers, he's fared well against everybody. So, when Guthrie loses Edmonds, despite throwing well to him, what does Dusty do? He yanks him and brings in Farnsworth, he of the 5 walks, 4 hits and 4 runs in his last 5 outings. Don't get me wrong, I like Kyle. But I like him at the beginning of an inning where he has some margin for error. This is not his type of situation. Particularly when he hasn't been throwing well lately.
Anyway, I won't go through the rest of the moves. Dusty basically stumbles through the rest of the inning just trying to find anyone who will get somebody, anybody out. If the Cubs had wanted that kind of bullpen management, they would have tried to hire away Tony LaRussa.