Simply put, the Cubs suck in close games in 2010, following a trend that killed the Cubs during the disappointing 2009 MLB campaign. So far this year, the Cubs have played 12 games in which the outcome was decided by 2 runs or less. How many of those games do you think the Cubs have won? You guessed it — just 4. Not good, not good at all. Going 4-8 in close games is not gonna get it done for Manager Lou Pinella and his club. They are 10-12 and they already trail the 1st place St. Louis Cardinals by 4.5 games in the NL Central race.
Pinella snapped at a reporter after the Cubs lost 3-2 to the Nationals at Wrigley Field when he suggested that Pinella should have had Mike Fontenot bunt after Marlon Byrd led off the 8th inning with a double. Pinella responded — “Bunting what? With a left-handed hitter up, you want to bunt? What kind of baseball do you play? How about getting him in? Or getting him over by swinging? How about that?”
Well, Lou, I hate to disagree with you, but given how anemic the Cubs offense has been in close games, that’s precisely the reason you have Fontenot bunting in that situation. With a runner on 3rd and only 1 out, that gives Koyie Hill or Geovany Soto the chance to drive in the tying run. And if either of them can’t get it done, then you still have a pinch hitter coming up with 2 outs needing only a hit or error to drive in the tying run. Call me crazy, but when you’re pressing in close games, you have to make it easy as possible to get any run across the plate, even if it means giving up an out. You’d think Lou’s been around long enough to know that, but it seems he’s being a little stubborn by not playing small ball.
Oh yeah, check out our Cubs Fun Fact of the Day from yesterday! So much for Ted Lilly making it 7 straight quality starts for Cubs starting pitchers. Yikes – Lilly gave up 6 ER on 7 hits and 2 walks (including 3 home runs) in only 5 innnigs of work. That is definitely NOT a quality start…