Come On Now

GAME THIRTY IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (14-15, 5th, 5.0 GB) AT SAN DIEGO PADRES (15-15, 3rd, 2.5 GB) Petco Park, 3:05 PM CDT Weather: Probably 72 and sunny, the bastards TV: CSN Chicago, DirecTV 740 Radio: WGN, XM 188
Woody Williams, RHP 2-1, 3.06 ERA, 32 1/3 IP 21 K, 11 BB, 4 HRAngel Guzman, RHP 0-1, 5.91 ERA, 10 2/3 IP 12 K, 7 BB, 2 HR
*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Michael Barrett, C Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Jerry Hairston, 2B Angel Guzman, P*Dave Roberts, LF Josh Barfield, 2B *Brian Giles, RF #Mark Bellhorn, 3B Rob Bowen, C Khalil Greene, SS *Adrian Gonzalez, 1B Ben Johnson, CF Woody Williams, P

Cubs vs. Williams: Juan Pierre: 12-25, 480/500/680, 1 BB Neifi Perez: 15-43, 349/364/488, 1 HR, 1 BB, 2 K Todd Walker: 11-49, 224/345/347, 1 HR, 9 BB, 8 K Aramis Ramirez: 9-35, 257/297/371, 1 HR, 2 BB, 5 K

I am fully commandoed. Let's get some runs. Also: LANSING LUGNUTS (19-10, 2nd, 0.5 GB) AT PEORIA CHIEFS (16-13, 2nd, 1.0 GB) O'Brien Field, 6:30 PM CDT Weather: Warmish, breezy TV: None Radio:WOAM AM 1350 Internet:milb.com
Billy Carnline, RHP 3-0, 0.32, 28 IP 31 K, 1 BB, 1 HRKerry Wood, RHP 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0 IP 0 K, 0 BB, 0 HR
Go Chiefs! But first, look at those stats for Lansing's pitcher. Pretty impressive.
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Comments

Chi-Hung Cheng for Lansing is a pretty good pitching prospect. He's a lefty with a weak fastball but an excellent hook. I believe he's slated to go tonight. Lansing has hardly any hitting prospects worth mentioning.

Jones misses the cut-off man...the Padres can hit off Guzman (who doesn't seem to have the command and control that Maddux, Marshall, and Big Z have)...Barrett just drops the pitch...Can the Cubs afford ALL these mistakes when they're not hitting well...?

Guzman is up over 30 pitches in the first inning and he just can't seem to throw strikes when he needs to...we're now down 2-0...I don't think he's any better than Rich Hill...Maybe the pressure is getting to him

Probably 72 and sunny, the bastards

Yea...you are pretty close! :) At least a bit north in Los Angeles.

Scott...funny, because you were praising Rich Hill last week, and talking about how great he was.

I think it is pretty clear Guzman is not ready for the bigs yet. Just to show you that ST means SHIT.

The Cubs' offense has put ALL the pitchers under tremendous pressure and the only young pitcher to handle it well so far this year is Marshall (who seems to be very steady and can get out of tough situations better).

J. Jones has a timely base hit that actually drives in a run -- early in the game...what a miracle...;-)

It's nice to see Ramirez get another home run (now if he can do that again when we have some base runners on than we might make some real headway in this game)...The Cubs offense is getting looser and is starting to be more patient at the plate...A base hit by Hairston -- way to go...We actually have the lead in a game...hmmm...maybe the offensive pump is starting to get primed...we'll see.

This is the first multiple run inning for the Cubs in over 80 innings of baseball...wow.

Nice pick by Hairston- that saved us two runs. Let's see- bases loaded, one out- nothing. Runners on 2nd and 3rd- nothing.

wtf is wrong with guzman ? no command at all - was he pitching like this in the minors, if not i think he's very nervous

wtf is wrong with guzman ? no command at all - was he pitching like this in the minors

Nothing is wrong with Guzman that a new arm won't fix. Yes he was pitching like this in the minors. Guzman isn't sharp and he was puzzled when he was brought up. He had trouble with command of his pitches in spring training as well.

Today he needed 100 pitches in 4.1 innings. Only half were strikes.

yikes

Is anyone else noticing that TCR's website isn't working quite right in firefox? Stuff's jumping around for me. Checked it out, and it doesn't look like it's got valid CSS or HTML. Might be worth checking out

Last year the Cubs used 8 mostly low-budget leadoff men who hit a cumulative .245

In steps Jim Hendry to the rescue!

This year they're using one pricey leadoff man who's hitting .240

Is anyone else noticing that TCR's website isn't working quite right in firefox? Stuff's jumping around for me. Checked it out, and it doesn't look like it's got valid CSS or HTML. Might be worth checking out

Yes, Brad. I contacted TCR and told them about the scripts that don't complete several weeks ago. Microsoft has a warning out on this site.

8h 1bb...1 extra base hit.

this has to find an end.

walks and singles wont win if there's not even a double mixed in somewhere...hell, im not even expecting homers...but all these singles/walks without any power is getting stupid.

Control has been one of Guzman's strength historically, dunno what's wrong now. Im hoping it's from the 2 years of sporadic pitching but he obviously isnt ready.

Kerry Wood vs Lugnuts is on MILB radio 7:30 Eastern tonight for those who are interested.

http://tinyurl.com/ronke

K's the side..so far so good.

wood can dominate 18-22 year olds...that's a good sign.

he's on the home radar at 92mph, but the announcer is claiming its been off all year and he's throwing harder...take that for what its worth...

first inning K's went throught the first 3 batters (12 pitches)

2nd inning...

walk, K, single, K, K

Wood has 6K's in 2 IP; Chiefs 1 Lugnuts 0

3rd inning...

3 batters faced, 3 strikeouts...

Wood - 9 ks through 3 innings, one walk, one 1b.

That is something to get excited about, even if it is low minors.

Man, this Wood start is so much fun I want him to stay in A-ball all season.

at least he's not coming up to the '90ft. cubs' we got going on currently.

i guess hitters getting singles/walks is better than nothing, but all these stranded runners is getting old.

pretty boxscore line so far...

Wood 3.0 1 0 0 1 9 0 0.00

wood's walk was on a 3-2 count and the announcer claims it was a sure-thing K...but that's his word.

so is there any chance wood can come up and take guzmans next start...

K #10

out #11 was a deep flyout

first out for wood that wasn't a strikeout comes as the 2nd out in the 4th.

4th inning...

K, popout, HBP (hand), groundout

groundout dp...

my guess is wood has one more rehab start after this one, and will be back in the rotation sometime next week, taking the start Guzman would currently have next Wednesday.

60 pitches thrown so far...

they want him to go 70-75 today allegedly

his next start he'll probally get the green light for 90.

Wood through 4 - 60 pitches, 53 strikes.

10 ks, 1 1b, 1 bb, 1 hbp

When Wood comes back (assuming he manages to avoid huring himself during his rehab starts) does he replace Angel "what's this strike zone you speak of?" Guzman or does he replace Rich "Mr. One Pitch" Hill?

Does anybody else think the Peoria play-by-play guy isn't very interesting?

Also, it looks like the Chiefs hitters are in fact from the Cubs organization. Base-runners in every inning and they have scored 1 run.

You know you are in a world of hurt when you are tuning in to A-ball radio broadcasts to listen to a game pitched by one of your most overrated players.

You wonder when the Trib. Co is going to wake up and either sell the ballclub or hire guys who know how to win.

damn dude...its sunday night...its free. unless wood can hit some doubles/homers...his 11+ Ks wont help too much.

inning 5...

groundout, K, K

Cubfan,
He's not overrated any more.

PO2, out #13

@66 pitches, K, out #14

@70 pitches, K, out #15

12K's 5 IP

Kerry Wood, the Greatest Minor Leaguer of all time!

I think he's ready.

the play by play guy is going to the Kerry Wood press conference...their bringing in a reliever who will pitch and do radio play by play. Hey, it's the minor leagues.

we dont know if he's ready for anything.

the only thing that's for sure is he was throwing 92mph and fooled a bunch of 18-22 year olds. the announcer claims that his velocity has to be higher and the radar is off...i got no reason not to believe him, but i dunno much about him.

no word on his mix of pitches, what he was throwing...what the kids who were getting fooled were getting fooled on etc etc...

there were over 30 media outlets at the game, though...so well...wow and stuff. i'm sure we'll hear enough to piece it all together eventually.

He's ready cause he's controling his pitches. Besides that, what more are we waiting for? Either the velocity will return or it won't. But none the less he's shown that he can pitch.

the announcer claims that his velocity has to be higher and the radar is off...i got no reason not to believe him, but i dunno much about him.

Well for one, most of these guys can hit a low 90s fastball. It's not as if they don't see them. That and Wood was throwing in the mid 90s last week in his start in ExST.

I miss the good old days of those 16-13 losses to Mike Schmidt's Phillies. At least we were somewhat exciting in defeat.

Wood, 5.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 12 K

Even for low-A ball, that's pretty good. I say throw him in the rotation. It's not like keeping Guzman/Hill is going to save the bullpen anymore than Wood. Something tells me Marshall's spot in the rotation is pretty solid for now.

BTW -- Was Aramis's homerun tonight on a fastball? I ask because it looks like he's catching up to the fastball now. His first homeruns of the season were mainly on hung breaking balls, but the homer & scorching line drive he hit Saturday looks like a fastballs to me.

In April he pretty much was wiffing on the the fastballs, swinging late. I'm hoping all this means he got his swing going. Maybe he shortened up or ditched some wasted movement.

Wood's currently set to go on Marshall's day if everything stays the same. By same I mean, Wood pitches Friday and then starts May 17th vs the Nats. They may push Wood till the 18th though, let Marshall pitch the 17th and have Wood take Guzman's spot and then on the 20th vs the White Sox it would be between Guzman/Hill or someone else.

BTW -- Was Aramis's homerun tonight on a fastball? I ask because it looks like he's catching up to the fastball now. His first homeruns of the season were mainly on hung breaking balls, but the homer & scorching line drive he hit Saturday looks like a fastballs to me. Especially the homer off Peavy's sinking 2-seamer.

In April he pretty much was wiffing on the the fastballs, swinging late. I'm hoping all this means he got his swing going.

Let Wood pitch on the 17th and have Marshall take an extra day off? Who cares?

kerry wood on his performance...

from the AP wire...

"I probably have got one more (minor league appearance), and then I'll be ready to go," the right-hander said. "I feel good and I've been recovering pretty well. I just need to get that pitch count up there and be able to go deep into games."

"I need to go and get a few more pitches," Wood said. "I need to be at somewhere around 85 or 90 before I get back."

also of note: fastball topped out at 97mph on an evidently more reliable radar.

same press conference...different news outlet...

from ye olde chicago tribune...

"It felt good. I was able to throw my pitches for strikes at different times in the count. I was pretty pleased with it. Ö I was impressed most with the location."

---

"I've got to get back in there and swing the bat a little bit," he said.

"I have to get some bunts down and things like that. You don't ever want to take this much time off and not see something from a live arm."

Was at the game today.
Highlight: Aram is clearly much more comfortable at the plate...he looks like he is going to turn it around in a hurry.

Lowlight #1: Personally, more then Guzman's control problems, I was infuriated by Juan Pierre...he just looks lost at the plate, and now seems intent on depending on the bunt to get something started...he laid down a great bunt on the first pitch of the game, but they still got him because everyone in the stadium knows what he is going to do...2nd at bat, two weak bunt attempts for fouls then a mishit groundball...a K and a groundout later, his day is done. He just looks lost and completley incapable of getting the ball to the outfield.

Lowlight#2: Walks...fucking walks, I hate walks...walks make me angry...4 walks in an inning makes me want to run down on the field and choke the pitchers. Again, I blame this on Rothschild...when we are near the top of the league for so many years in awalks allowed, it is a sign of a fundamental problem across the pitching staff...and to see Guzman pussy around batters and give way to Novoa who pussies around battters, it is enough to make one scream. Something is wrong with our approach to pitching

Lowlight#3: mental errors, Jones missing the cut off man, Barrett asleep behind the plate, failed pickoff etc. Just bad fundamental baseball.

But take away the mental errors, take away the walks by our pitchers, take away our injuries...and this team is still not built to win. There are just WAY too many holes in the lineup to compete day in and day out...we managed to cover them up the first couple weeks...but no more..

does the fact the team has played 2 extra inning games yet the dumpster hasnt worked in a week resonate concern to anyone here...or in the press?

no one in the papers seem to think its odd or worth mentioning. btw, save the tribune conspiracies...there's more than 1 paper in the city and well over a dozen media outlets covering every game at any given moment and they all get the same clubhouse/pressbox access.

I was in Peoria last night for the game. A few reactions: 1) The gun was slow - it kept registering fastballs in the 80's that clearly were faster. 2) Yes, it was A ball, but it was still fun to watch. Wood's control was sharp, as well. 3) The Chiefs hit a 2 run homer in the 10th to win. Is that legal?

Do you mean whould it count for two runs? Yes. The rules of MLB (and, I assume MILB) state that the first run scored in a sudden-death inning end the game, but an exception is made for a home run -- all runs which would score on a home run are counted when a home run ends a game.

It's rule 4.11(c):

http://tinyurl.com/2jya7

OK this is serious now- I find myself resorting to the dreaded "spreadsheet exercise", which kept me alive as a Cubs fan, or at least paying attention, through most of the really lackluster years of the 90's

The point is to create an Excel spreadsheet with which you can make some graphs charting the trends in the team W-L record and scoring, standings, etc etc, whatever you want. The point is, keeping the spreadsheet up to date during the season is the motivating factor to keep picking up the paper and looking at the scores, the standings and the box score, which otherwise becomes a really painful thing to do everyday.

Crunch, I think that Dusty has completely bought into the current dogma that among the baseball insiders culture that you never bring your close in until you have the lead. Hence one of your best, if not best relief pitcher, rusts away while you bring in one of your second line bullpen pitchers with the game tied in late innings. Tony Larussa and Joe Torre have won umpteen pennants and championships doing it this way, so this is the way it has to be done, right?

You're right on CFFIG, it would be different at a home game, but when you're a visiting team, if you get a lead, you have to be able to close it out. Still, I think Demp should get some work in. It's not like anyone's too worried about Demp getting overused at this point. Not like they're going to go on a 7-8 game win streak any time soon.

On Mike and Mike in the morning this morning, on ESPN news, the so-called expert Buster Olney opined that Dusty's contract will not be renewed and then Mike Green opined that Dusty will be fired and that it has never been a good fit in Chicago, that Dusty is a "west coast guy" and does not like to be second-guessed by the local media. In addition, they pointed out that, in teh 14 games up to Lee's injury, the team scored about 70 runs and that the team has scored just 40 runs in the 16 games since then.

Who would replace Dudsy? Chris Spier?

Wow, we can't score runs without Lee. Who would of thought that? That isn't Baker's fault.

But I still want the man gone for all his past mistakes as a manager of this team.

my vote is go with a temporary fill-in for 2006 as this year is done. Get Girardi in 2007, he is a stat head, a NU grad, a IL guy and a perfect fit.

While losing Lee did suck, our lineup should not be reliant on one player to score runs. If we cannot win (or even score) without him, then something is drastically wrong with the team.

Hendry deserves some blame for team construction, but team construction will always be a product of both the manager and general manager. If Dusty really didn't want someone on his team, I bet that player wouldn't be on the team.

I can only assume that both Hendry and Baker were both fine with the team construction and thus both are to blame for the team's problems. Again, losing one player, even a really good one like Lee, should not in and of itself sink this team.

Wendell Kim: Who would replace Dudsy? Chris Spier?

Since Hendry is so bent on putting together the '03 Marlins, what about McKeon. And actually, I'm only half kidding, I always thought McKeon was one of the modern greats.

On my list of people who would be available that I would like to see managing the Cubs:

1. Speier
2. Maddux (although he's not available every 5th start)
3. Dusty
4. McKeon
5. Lee Mazzilli
6. Jody Davis

MikeC: Wow, we can't score runs without Lee. Who would of thought that? That isn't Baker's fault.

Well when the Cubs lose some games, it brings up the inevitable "call for the manager's head" talks. To me, though, Baker never has done anything that I thought... "Wow, Dusty is really good, I'm glad he's managing."

I'm not a big Dusty fan, but I'm not sure what he can do. He had them stealing bases like mad with Piazza behind the plate, which was smart. But, he can't drive in the runs. Other than Pierre, he has no leadoff option. He was given another mediocre, non-impact player in RF, with no real other options (Mabry and Pagan are not everyday players). Hendry's big starting pitcher signing was Rusch. So, I agree he's not the greatest strategist around, but what should he have done differently in the last 6 games that would have made a difference, other than tell the guys to get more hits or tell Guzman/Hill to stop pitching like rookies?

Guys, I am sick of all this "what could Dusty have done?" talk. Everything, anything. His lack of strategy is one thing, overusing pitchers is another, lack of motivation and a laissez-faire attitude yet another. Over everything else, I just don't think he is prepared game in and game out. He is never looking at books or sheets in the dug out and it seems he is not instructing his players on the weaknesses of the other team/players.

You put dusty on the cardinals and they are not making the playoffs. Bottom line. spare me your righteous poo-holes talk.

as of this moment I am selling every game I have minus the sunday cubs/sox.

Oh, and what is Sweet Lou doing? Talking about building a spine into cubs baseball....

When are you guys here at TCR going to update your Anno Catuli image? I don't remember us winning the division so recently!

Harsh words about Hendry and the Cubs from a former (supplemental) first-round pick:

http://cubs.scout.com/2/527823.html.

Matt Clanton had personality issues going into the draft, so keep his comments in context.

I agree with Johann and disagree with Mike C. Losing Lee should not mean that the entire team falls apart. We should expect better than what we are getting from this group of players. The pitching is decent now, even without Prior and Wood and Miller. It is our offense that is terrible. And our outfield defense is sub-par, ie, Pierre's arm and Jones' arm. Jones' arm is just terrible. In Saturday night's game, on the fly out to right in which a run scored, Jones caught the ball in shallow, shallow, right field and his throw made it to Walker on not one but two bounces as Walker stood about even with the pitching mound. This is about the third or fourth time in the last three weeks that I have seen this from Jones. His arm is simply awful. I think I could have thrown the ball to Walker without the ball bouncing even once.

Dusty is too much of a players' manager for this group of guys. Maybe it works with different personnel. But not these guys. I think we need someone who acts like he has some fire and is not afraid to kick some butt when needed, ie, the way Jim Leyland did with the Tigers right before they caught fire. Sure, I do not know what goes on behind closed doors. However, when Leyland or one of these other guys gets mad at his team for lack of effort or whatever, the word filters out. When was the last time that word ever filtered out about Dusty? I question whether Dusty has even raised his voice since he got here several years ago.

BigZ "He is never looking at books or sheets in the dug out"

I don't remember Don Zimmer looking at too many books or stat sheets when he managed. Not that I am comparing Dusty to Zim, I am just pointing out that some managers don't use "the book" and can be successful. I don't agree that a big league manager has to be a "stat" guy. Some of the best managers in the game are guys who manage with thier guts. I am not a huge Dusty fan, but to say that he isn't a good manager because he doesn't use stats is a little short sighted imo.

guy,

you don't have to agree. Maybe it is due to Zim and Dusty than I am pinning for some strategy. I am all for the Gut in certain situations, just not 100% of the time. Stats and tendencies are invaluable and to simply ignore them all together is gross negligence.

Maybe if Zimmer had looked at a stat sheet he might have noticed that Andre Dawson was setting a record for leaving men on base in the 1989 NLCS and sat his ass down by game five.

I am not a huge Dusty fan, but to say that he isn't a good manager because he doesn't use stats is a little short sighted imo.

Not, that is not short sighted at all. Any manager who does not use stats is foolish. Statistics are one of the key tools to placing the best team on the field in each situation.

With that said, one does have to be be "looking at books" during the game in order to use stats.

I think a 'gut feeling' can sometimes be a reason to act irrationally. For instance, leaving a guy to bat in the 9th inning when he's 1-16 against the closer based on a 'feeling.' Said feeling can be used to differentiate between two guys who stack up comparatively, but never should be used in spite of statistics.

As John Cusack said in High Fidelity, "Well, I've been listening to my gut since I was 14 years old, and frankly speaking, I've come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains."

Last year we blamed Dusty for changing up the line up too much and not giving the team consistancy. This year he has kept things pretty much in place, top of the order has been very consistant since Lee went down and the middle has been juggled a bit but still the same.

And we see what that consistant lineup produces day in and day out...maybe just for one day, Dusty should turn the lineup on it's head...something like this:

1. Cedeno
2. Murton
3. Ramirez
4. Barrett
5. Walker
6. Pierre
7. Jones
8. Niefi/Nairston/Maybry/Byron

Of course I don't expect this to happen, and of course there is a reason I ain't managing...but we are in such a long stretch of complete futility, that it seems it can't hurt to just pick the lineup out of a hat for the day.

as for looking at stats and charts during the game...from most of what I see day in and day out across the league...that's one of the key roles of the pitching and batting coaches....and they can fill in the manager. I am not a big fan of Dusty, but I don't buy that he just makes up shit as he goes on...I think he has the information that he needs to have before the game, and gets the information he needs during the game from his coaches.

On the otherhand, the criticism that he isn't getting his team mentally prepared for games is valid in my opinion...there are just too many fundamental problems for both our pitchers and hitters for him to avoid legitimate blame.

Bottom line though, the problems with the team this year go FAR beyond Dusty's field management...(and way beyond Lee's injury IMHO)

I agree with Johann and disagree with Mike C. Losing Lee should not mean that the entire team falls apart. We should expect better than what we are getting from this group of players.

The team has needed that 3rd offensive force for atleast the last few seasons. In fact I have warned that if either Ramirez or Lee go down for a long stretch the Cubs offense is ill equipped to handle it. We got a little preview last year when Ramirez got injured at the end of the year. The offense can not sustain itself with only 1 threat in the lineup.

The 3rd bat theory is the, "In case shit happens" or your teams "Insurance Policy" against injuries that could cripple your team.

And if your 1 offensive threat is in a slump, you got a punchless lineup that scares no one and fails to score runs.

The 3rd bat protects against injuries and increases the chances that atleast one of them is on a hot streak. This is this basis for creating a consistent scoring offense.

Ryno and Crunch: I was not clear enough in my post that I disagree with the established dogma, and was being sarcastic about Dusty, Torre, and LaRussa, good managers though they are (Torre more than the other two, departs from the dogma with Mariano Riveria, bringing him on occasion when the game is tied and the team desperately needs to win (to break a losing streak.) When the game is on the line, you want your best pitcher available, not your fourth best pitcher, making the pitches.

The team has needed that 3rd offensive force for atleast the last few seasons.

I assume when you say the past few seasons, you mean the past one season?

The 04 lineup with Lee, Ramirez, Alou, and Sosa was hardly lacking an offensive punch.

Yeah and we kept that together for 1 season. Next season Alou and Sosa were gone with the great "addition by subtraction plan."

In the years between 1998 through 2003 we missed that offensive cushion. In fact, and I might be stretching this, you have to go back to 1991 with George Bell, Ryne Sandberg, and Andre Dawson.

I should also add that assembling a core lineup that sticks together for 3-4 years straight also helps. The Cubs are always interchanging parts around their core lineup. They may always have a Derrek Lee, a Sammy Sosa, or a Ryne Sandberg, but they will constantly surround them with a supporting cast that is bordering on pathetic at times.

Yes Mike, but keeping a core lineup together only helps when it is really good...I look over the last few years and don't see who we should have kept to help the lineup stay together outside of Alou. Left we had nothing (post Alou), Right we had some piddling clones the last 3 years, SS was injury plagued, 2nd we have Walker, first lee, 3rd Ramirez, Catcher Barrett...I don't think not keeping a core lineup together is the problem. I think the problem is we just haven't had the right talent to keep together.

Now if Cedeno and Murton turn out to be the real deal, then we could have consistancy for awhile...unfortunately, I'm not sure if it is the consistency we would want.

on the big three hitter theory...

what do we do now?
JJ, 3 years and a lot of money, we are stuck
Pierre, likely replaced by Pie, not a #5 hitter
Barrett, Ramirez, Cedeno, Lee, Murton, Maybe Walker aren't going anywhere?

Am I missing something? Which position is it we can add a #5 hitter to? Assuming JJ isnt sent to bench duty.

i still cant believe people can watch what has happened the past couple weeks and still look to a manager as a scapegoat...and about the stats thing...he uses him, that's what dick pole is there for...that's what all those binders in front of him and on the dugout are for.

THE **PLAYERS** ARE NOT GETTING IT DONE.

not some lineup jockey...not some culture...not dusty ignoring stats...not dusty not giving someone hugs and pats on the butts enough...not cuz hendry winkler wasnt invited to give motivational speeches to professionals.

i know some people wanna fixate on something other than the fact the team is in a hitting slump and a .100+ slugging slump, but wow...its happening...and its not cuz dusty is benching walker, aram, jones, murton, and barrett...

its cuz walker, aram, jones, murton, and barrett arent stepping up.

its a slump...it happens...its also THEIR fault cuz they are the guys with the bats and they're not going up there being asked to groundout, single, and walk.

it may be hard to blame the actual players who want to do good, or some may just wanna bitch about dusty for the hell of it...but the players are not cashing in their own oportunities and no one is rotting away being wasted via the sake of a manager.

Crunch, in general terms I agree with you....But at what point do you have to look at some trends and see some significant problems with game plans that go beyond individual players. Everything from bad baserunning, to low OBP, to inability to take walks, to pitchers consistantly throwing 20+ pitches in the first inning and the team leading the league in walks allowed.

Sure, ultimately it is the players who aren't performing, and sure this team isn't built to win no matter who the manager is this year. But, we have a manager for a reason...if it was simply up to the players to play there would be no point in paying a guy a lot of money to make decisions. So at some point, the problems with this team need to go to the top for an answer as to the poor fundamentals that we keep seeing day in and day out.

This goes a bit farther then my beliefs but represents my point well.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

"Part of a manager's jobóa big part, as a matter of factóis being able to cope with the difficult times of the season. The key is to be able to inspire, prepare, teach and, when necessary, to think out of the (batter's) box."

"The common trend is the lack of baserunners, even in years (2004-05) when they were in the top half of the league in hitting. It's as if Baker and his hitting coaches encourage players to hack away; that trend, it seems, runs a lot deeper than Sammy Sosa."

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