Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cubs Not the Good Kind of Offensive in Houston

The Cubs allowed five runs over 31 innings in Houston this week. That works out to an ERA of 1.45. The starters allowed only two runs in 21 2/3 innings. That works out to an other-wordly 0.83 ERA.

The Cubs lost two of the three games.

Ted Lilly must have threatened to go medieval on the offense if they didn't step up because they managed seven runs in the first six innings of Game 1. They could only squeeze two more runs across (on two solo homeruns by Soto and Lee) in the next 25 innings of the series.

The question that this naturally raises amongst even the most rainbows-and-sunshine Cubs fans is: What in the name of holy f--- are you motherf---ers doing out there?

Soriano is going through his obligatory cold-as-the-deep-recesses-of-space period that he goes through at least twice a year.

Milton Bradley managed a broken bat single that probably should have been a double play from the way I heard it described by Pat Hughes on the radio.

The Hill/Soto combo is making us look back fondly on the Tim Blackwell/Barry Foote days. Fukudome has gotten a couple hits, but he's not getting hits to drive in any runs. Fontenot had a nice birthday game, but not much since.

The AAA boys have all lost their magic. Bobby Scales, Andres Blanco, and Micah Hoffpauir look like they are overmatched in almost every at-bat. Hoff managed a long, loud out to straightaway center, but otherwise did little to demand more playing time.

Aaron Miles is, unsurprisingly, the most useless player on the entire roster in every way.

Derrek Lee is the only guy who is putting up numbers that don't make grown men weep uncontrollably. Unfortunately, he is performing merely admirably, and not single-handedly-carry-the-offense fantastic, so it does little good except keep the Micah Hoffpauir Fan Club quiet for now.

This is why it is a real damn shame that Lou and Gerald Perry seem to have broken Ryan Theriot. Theriot started the year well enough with his signature style of slapping hits to the right side with great frequency and little power. He didn't strike out much, but he didn't scare anybody with an ability to drive in a runner by hitting an extra-base hit.

Then the coaches told him that he should occasionally look to drive the ball a bit more and maybe hit the left field gap for some doubles. On the surface, this seemed like sage advice. It makes sense that the coaching staff would like for this one dimensional offensive player to at least keep other teams honest by showing the ability to turn on the ball if they insist on pitching him middle in. There were a couple games where the defense was almost in the Bonds Shift positions because they knew he wasn't going to pull the ball.

So the coaches told Theriot to look for pitches he could drive. What he apparently heard was: "You should always look to try to hit a homerun because you are a big bad power hitter that can change the game with one swing." It's like having Corey Patterson all over again.

Again, I blame the coaches. They should know that Theriot isn't terribly bright regarding his own baseball abilities. The evidence is all over the place in the other parts of his game. He thinks he has a strong arm and tries to make throws he shouldn't. He thinks he is a good base stealer and continuously finds new ways to get thrown out while on the bases. Now, he thinks he is a power hitter.

He has gone from the guy I wanted at the plate above almost anyone else with a runner at third with less than two outs, to a guy I never want to see with a bat in his hand in any situation.

Unfortunately, the alternative is seeing more of Aaron Miles, so I'll just hope that the coaches can figure out how to turn "Muscles" back into "Slappy."


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