I know what they say about being curious. All it does is lead to bad things, but I can’t help but be a little curious about a few things of late. Let me begin with todays game, since it’s the freshest in my mind.

Prior’s pitch count – Normally, this would be an issue that would be a case of pitcher abuse, but today it was a different story. Baker talked about not having a set number of pitches in mind as Prior entered his first start back from the DL. He said it would depend on effectiveness. To me, that says that if Mark was struggling, he would get the quick hook in an effort to minimize the damage. Prior, however, came out smokin’ and had breezed through the first 6 innings only giving up 1 baserunner. At that point, the pitch count was at 71 and with the DH in effect, there is no need to worry about his spot coming up in the top of the 7th. To me, that says you can get 1 more inning out of Prior, who should have been stretched to 90, in my opinion. I can understand not wanting to rush a guy back, but 90 pitches is the usual amount Dusty keeps his guys on when they come back from an injury. (side note – It’s sad that we have had injuries to the point that we know Dusty’s norm pitch count in that situation.) That got me to thinking about what Dusty had in mind, and not one of the conclusions made a lick of sense.

Possible Explanations

  • Prior had the 2,3,4 hitters coming up in the 7th and Dusty didn’t want him out there during that

  • Dusty had the utmost faith in his bullpen
  • The Cubs were safely ahead at the time.

As you can see, none of these explanations make sense. Prior would be the guy you want out there to face the heart of the order at that point in the game. At the time, the Cubs were nursing a precious 1 run lead. Prior had thrown a gem, why would he not be able to handle that inning? Reason #2 makes no sense either because Dusty can’t stand the bullpen. It’s one of the few things him and I agree on. Obviously reason # 3 is not the case, so why did Dusty go with the move he did?

Jerome Williams? – When I saw Jerome come out of the pen today, it made me scratch my head in confusion. He is the guy we need as the 5th starter, so why have him come out of the pen today? I know people think that Mitre is the guy, but I just don’t see it. Williams has pitched in the heat of a playoff race before and has more experience than Mitre. In addition, Mitre’s ground ball ability is very useful out of the pen. He has the ability to come in a get a double play in crucial situations. Rusch, while I think he is the better pitcher, also needs to come out of the pen. Our bullpen needs to reliable arms down there and Mitre and Rusch can provide that. With Jerome as the 5th starter and Wood coming back on Wednesday, the rotation would be very solid. The pen, would have a good ring to it as well. You’d have Mitre & Rusch who could both be situational guys or long guys. You’d have Wuertz & Ohman, both of who are doing well this year and then Remlinger and Dempster to close.

Mark Kotsay – I am so curious as to if the Cubs are going to get this guy to lead off. He is the perfect fit for this team. He’s a good CF who not only hits for average but also draws some walks. Last year his .370 OBP was largely due to his 55 walks out of the leadoff spot in SD. Corey Patterson has had 2 full seasons (no injuries) and drew a combined 64 walks. So in 2 seasons, he beats Kotsay’s 1 year total by 9. Kotsay is our guy and Hendry needs to make it happen. Any chance of Damon coming from Boston is not possible till next year, so we need Kotsay this year. With him in the leadoff spot, Walker could move to the 2 spot so Corey could hit 6th. Walker and Kotsay would allow Lee to have guys on base for his hot bat. Corey would hit in his precious middle of the order role and all would be right with the world.

So there you have it. Curious observations on my part, but fun to write nonetheless. It’s gonna be an interesting next couple of weeks. The next 2 should make or break this Cubs team. If we can make a surge, we can get reinforcements and make a run. If not, it’s going to be a long fall.

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail