I've noticed and scratched my head sometimes about some of Uncle Lou's late inning pitching maneuvers, and yesterday it happened again.
Am I blaming Sweet Lou for the state of affairs of our beloved men in blue? Not at all. I actually believe that the attitude of accountability he has brought into the clubhouse as been both refreshing and needed.
However, certain responsibilities do lie at the doorstep of the manager when a game goes south. We all understand that the game is won or lost primarily by the players, but the manager does quite often have a direct impact with his strategic decisions made late in a game.
Time for the obligatory Dusty Baker bashing segment of this article; Well let's just leave it to say that the words, 'strategic and Baker' very seldom collided in the same sentence.
Sweet Lou, yesterday pulls Marquis in the 5th inning with a pitch count in the mid-eighties. WTF? If the whiff machine would've made the play in LF, Marquis would have had the opportunity to get out of the inning with a double play. Even with runners on 1st & 2nd, a move to the bullpen didn't seem appropriate as Marquis, although maybe not his sharpest, had yielded only on a couple of hits. Still Uncle Lou steps out of the dugout to start the relief man parade, sometimes up to four in one inning mind you, with Marquis holding a 4-2 lead. Again I say WTF?
Marquis has been one of the bright spots on the staff this year and Piniella decides to play Russian Roulette with the suspect at best middle relief? WTF?
Yes we can talk again and again about the Cubs hitters not being able to add on runs after they have a lead, but the pitchers on the other team have a little to do with that, don't you think?
Have you ever wondered when our pitchers hold a team down and the Cubs win, the press comments on the masterful job of the Cubs pitching but when they lose, it's the Cub hitters that get bashed.
Let's face it, pitching has the greatest single impact on the outcome of a game and Uncle Lou's strategic decisions late in the game definitely can skew the outcome.
No this loss is on Sweet Lou.