View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



July 2005



How Much Longer?

Written by , Posted in General

After last night’s loss, I have thought of a few things that I am tired of waiting for. It’s growing very frustrating to wait and wait for a few of these things to happen. So, how much longer….?

Till we see Matt Murton starting everyday? – Is there a reason Dusty has not given the everyday left field job to Matt yet? This kid just knows how to hit. After last night’s game, he is hitting .462 with an OBP of .531. He gets on more than every other at bat. Granted, he’s only had 25+ plate appearances, but his knowledge of the strike zone has been very evident thus far. In 2004, Murton was “Named by Baseball America as the best hitter for average and as having the best strike-zone discipline in the Cubs organization” (Link) At this point, the Cubs need to figure out the LF spot and they have 5 days to do it. If they are going to get a LF, then by all means, play whoever best matches up that day until he gets here. However, if you’re not able to get a LF, do you have any choice other than give Matt Murton the shot he’s earned? Dusty Baker appears to be afraid to hurt Hollandsworth’s feelings by benching him in favor of a rookie, but if you remember when Hollandsworth signed, it was knowing he’d be the 4th OF. The other day, I was listening to the Score online, which up until 2 weeks ago could not be done, and they had a caller that wanted Holly to get the everyday job in LF. He claimed that Hollandsworth had been great for the Cubs this year and has put up big numbers. Let’s take a look at those numbers:

April – .250 avg., .329 OBP, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 7 BB, 15 K
May – .111 avg, .179 OBP, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 11 K
June – .360 avg, .372 OBP, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 2 BB, 8 K’s
July – .220 avg, .288 OBP, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 6 BB, 8 K’s

So basically if you take out Hollandsworth’s hot June, which appears to be the only time he has been hot all year, you get these numbers:

.208 avg, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 16 BB, 34 K’s

That seems like a marginal bench player at best. Certainly not the everyday Left Fielder for a team that is in the hunt for a wild card spot.

Till we see a suicide squeeze? – The last 2 losses the Cubs have faced, they have given up a run due to a suicide squeeze bunt. Dusty Baker has got to notice that this has worked. How long until he tries it? Granted, it’s not a move you want to use all the time, but it’s one that I have never seen Baker use since he has come to the team. It’s in baseball for a reason. It works at times and should be used. Baker seems stubborn toward it. In the 8th inning, the Cubs had tied the game on a HR by Michael Barrett to lead off the inning. Burnitz walks and gets to 2nd on a sacrifice by Perez and then reaches 3rd on a WP. At that point, it’s a tie game with runners on 1st and 3rd and only 1 out. If you lay down a suicide, there is a chance that it works and the Cubs have the lead and tons of momentum going into the 9th. If it doesn’t, you still have Murton at 2b with Macias at the plate and 2 outs. Take a chance Dusty!!!

Till we get Austin Kearns? – I’m not sure what the holdup is, but I think it’s inevitable. Kearns wants to be here and I don’t think Cincy can really afford to keep 4 guys that are capable of playing the OF when they so desperately need pitching. The Cubs have pitching to offer, so I think this deal will get done and will get done for less than Cincy is asking. Hendry has a way of talking up our junk and selling it for more than it’s worth (i.e. – Alex Gonzalez, Brendon Harris, Francis Beltran)

Till Macias is off this roster – Dusty Baker values this guy so highly and he can’t justify it other than his versatility. Last night, Dusty Baker brings in Macias in the 8th inning as a defensive replacement in CF for Hairston. At that point in the game, Hairston had been to the plate 4 times and reached base in 2 of those plate appearances. That’s a .500 OBP. Macias then proceeds to not get the job done at the plate in the bottom of the 8th. In the 11th, Macias boots a ball in the OF that is hit on the ground to him. Usually when you bring in a defensive replacement, they are supposed to play better than the guy they replace. Why not wait to replace Hairston till he had hit in the 8th? Macias must go and Dusty shouldn’t be far behind for playing him.