Today the Cubs were swept by a superior Pittsburgh team that served notice on it’s more prosperous Chicago rival. The Pirates pulled to within a game and a half of the freefalling Cubs as they pulled out yet another extra inning win, sending the Chicago faithful hurtling toward the vomitoriums once again. It’s one thing to lose because of injuries – the Cubs suffered another one today as Juan Mateo sacrificed his pitching arm to knock down a line drive. But it appears that this Pittsburgh team plays better fundamental baseball, has better hitters and, with the exception of Carlos Zambrano has better pitching.
Particularly noticeable today was the Cubs’ weakness insofar as fielding in the outfield. I am perplexed by the fact that Jacque Jones has to throw ground balls from right to second base – is his arm hurt? Supposedly this guy is a good fielder, but that’s not what I’ve seen. He has a good bat but he looks like Moises Alou in right field. Juan Pierre has a weak arm and we knew it when we signed him; Murton is a work in process in left and it appears that defense will probably not be his strong suit in the long run.
As is often the case, the Cubs found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Dusty Baker proved again that he has no baseball instincts whatsoever by going to Latroy Dempster again in the 11th. It’s deja vu all over again and Dusty will never learn. He consistently goes to the reliever that got beat the day before and always will. It’s his way of showing confidence.
This team needs a coup de grace, either that or immediate changes. Hendry needs to decide whether he wants his team to be the league’s whipping boy for a month or go in a different direction. It’s evident to me that Jim Hendry has more dollars than he does sense; his innate stubborness and inability to think on the fly will result in Cubs fans seeing the Cubs finish with their worst record since 1966.