I don’t really believe what the Score has been pushing the last couple of days, that Lou and the Cubs are done with each other as soon as they’re mathematically eliminated. (Though, they always have to get themselves a shiny new toy each season and there’s not going to be payroll to get a player.) Their making it sound as if management wants Lou gone, while every other impression is management loves Lou and loves how he’s not throwing people under the bus.
HOWEVER. Tonight’s loss leans heavily on Lou. With the bases loaded and two out in the top of the sixth, (starting pitcher) Tom Gorzelanny came up. Gorzelanny had settled down from early, had only given up 2 runs, and only thrown 82 pitches. There’s a good case for him staying in there, but it’s also defensible to be a put a strong pinch hitter in this spot – the Cubs usually need runs, and this was a key moment to get them. The chance can’t be wasted; the bullpen has fallen apart and was guaranteed to give up an unknown quantity of runs.
Righty on the mound. Options:
Lou picked Miles. In an all or nothing situation, he picked the worst batter versus right handers on the team (including even the pitchers, only Angel Guzman has worse numbers – but he only has 3 ABs), saving Fuld for a double switch that never came, saving Fox for a pinch hit appearance that never mattered.
The best quality, the most enjoyable aspect of Lou’s managing style is he’s never been afraid to shoot all his bullets, and deal with whatever problems came up when they came up. This time, he played it conservative, the Cubs got a groundout on 2 pitches, and the game was over in the next inning.
In July, I thought this regular season could either be like 2008, where the Cubs got even with the division leader and the leader could no longer keep up, or like 2003, where one head to head series near the end of the season determined it all. A week or so ago, I thought this was going like 2005, where the Cubs seemed to be 4-6 games out for three months straight, always a win streak away from making it super tight but never getting one, then giving up the chase late. I don’t have a recent year in my head to compare what’s going on – they either are never in it, or fade a lot later. This is an old school swoon, the likes we haven’t seen in some time.
The light’s not out, but it’s looking pretty dim.