As the Cubs come limping home to the unfriendly confines it has become apparent to this humble observer, ok maybe not that humble, that the game of musical chairs with the Cubs lineup only further exacerbates the ineptitude of a bullpen that resembles 2003 more than we care to remember.
I don't know but seriously doubt, any major moves to improve the club at the trading deadline will take place unless the Cubs are within a game or two of the division lead.
If that is the case, Uncle Lou has to find a set lineup to play most everyday he can evaluate. Then make his pitch to Hendry on what he needs to make a playoff run.
When we look at a team that has a good batting average like the Cubs do, it's natural to assume that they would score more than they do. However, Piniella's instance to rotate outfielders in different positions and up and down the lineup while in the beginning of the year was understandable to determine their strengths and weaknesses, is now just creating inconsistent performances. Same goes for the middle infield. By now Piniella should know who his starters are and who should come off the bench.
Who should start? I'm sure we all have our opinions and they may vary somewhat but I think all of us would agree that Piniella has to construct his lineup to be more productive. That means putting his best OBP hitters, regardless of their speed at the top of the order followed by the big boppers, with whiff machines no higher than 5th. in the order. If the team has some defensive weaknesses because of it, Piniella is going to have to consider if the offensive performances will out weigh them. If Piniella is wrong, at least it will become clearer to him what is needed.
Guzman, like most of the position players has been jerked around without a defined role on the team. If Marshall looks to be the 5th starter then Guzman, who's arm has been stretched out already is the best candidate to be first out of the pen, period. Only in blowouts, one way or the other should Eyre come into a game and Wuertz, independent of Howry's previous experience should be the 8th. inning man. Fill in the others as you will but at least the bullpen will have a set long man, situational lefty, setup man and closer.
A little over a quarter of the season is over and after Piniella's instance of hitting lead off with Soriano and the late inning maneuvers of the bullpen, it's getting harder and harder to tell if this guy...
is that much different than this guy...