It’s finally time for the Pinella-O-Meter – which will measure how much longer the “elderly” Lou Pinella can take with this awful Cubs team that he is trying to “manage”. This is truly hysterical. Just when you think it cannot get any worse, it does. The Cubs continue to lose games in unimaginable ways. After last night’s 2-1 loss to the Pirates – their 8th loss to the Pirates in 10 games in 2010 – the Cubs are now 7-18 in 1-run games. How bad can a team play in close games? Clearly, this team freezes up like no other when they are involved in a close struggle.
The dramatic fall of the Cubs is clearly shown when you look at how they have fared against the Pirates in 2010. Entering last night’s game, the Pirates had lost 17 straight games on the road – 17!!! Coming to Wrigley Field for a series against the Cubs was just what the doctor ordered for the struggling Pirates. They were 25-50 coming into the game, and they had won just 4 games in the entire month of June alone (1 of those was against the Cubs). At one point during the month, the Pirates had lost 12 straight games and they were on a 6-game losing streak heading into last night’s game. 8 of their 26 wins have come against the Cubs in 2010 – that means they are just 18-48 in their other 66 games?! One more great stat – the Pirates have been outscored by their opponents by 180 runs!!! That’s right 180 runs. They have scored only 247 runs (worst in the major leagues) while their opponents have scored 427 runs. How bad is this Pirates ball club? Very very bad — the Pirates have the worst record in the National League and and only the Baltimore Orioles have a worse record than the Pirates in all of baseball. Losing this many games to the Pirates has gotta be killing Pinella.
No matter what Pinella does – lineup changes, bullpen changes, seances – nothing seems to work.
On top of the poor play, Pinella has to deal with all of the side stories that have infected this team the last 2 seasons. Last year it was hot-head Milton Bradley and this year it is Carlos Zambrano. A 5-week stint in the bullpen didn’t seem to help Big Z at all, so once back in the rotation, still performed at a low level. It all came to a head last Friday when Big Z blew his head off when he felt that Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez didn’t try hard enough to field ground balls that set up a big inning for the White Sox in the bottom of the 1st. This all from the guy who has admitted that he has had trouble staying in shape and wasn’t always prepared for games. Now Zambrano has been suspended indefinitely from the team, he is required to undergo anger management treatment, and assuming that he completes the treatment successfully, he will back in the Cubs locker room sometime after the All-Star Break and back in the bullpen. Pinella must be wondering when he agreed to partake in a season of All My Children instead of manage a major league baseball team.
Pinella isn’t getting any younger and having to deal with the Cubs struggles on a daily basis has gotta be taking its toll on the big man.
Last night’s game was no different – The Cubs scored their only run of the game on a Pirates fielding error. Ryan Theriot didn’t come through with a clutch hit with runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs in the 2nd inning. The Cubs didn’t get 2 runners on base in the same inning again until the 7th inning. After a one-out Starlin Castro double and Jeff Bajer shallow single, it was Theriot who failed to come through in the clutch again as he hit into an inning-ending doubel play. And in the 9th inning, so-so closer Octavio Dotel opened the door for the Cubs by hitting Aramis Ramirez with a pitch to lead-off the inning. But then Dotel whipped through the “heart” of the Cubs lineup by striking out the next 3 batters – Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Xavier Nady – to end the threat. Good job guys.
Randy Wells did not have the best control – 1ER on 3 hits and 4 walks with 6 K’s in 6 innings – but he did enough to keep the Cubs in the game. Then it was Andrew Cashner who suffered his 2nd loss in 3 games. Cashner worked out of a self-imposed 2-on jam in the 8th inning, but struggled again when he gave up a single and a walk to start the 9th. Pinella went with Carlos Marmol to quell the threat, but he served up the game-winning RBI double to Jose Taba, and just like that the Cubs would lose another close one to the lowly Pirates.
You have to think the Cubs & Ted Lilly will find a way to beat the Pirates tonight at Wrigley Field. But something tells me it’s going to be another long night for the north siders. Come on, Lou — try to hang on a little longer…