i was really encouraged last night as, despite todd walker's return to second base for the cubs, jerry hairston made his debut in centerfield, displacing the human strikeout. hairston duly went 0-for-2 with a walk and a whiff, grounding out and lining out, setting his OBP for the year at a squad-second-best .365.
i muffled my dissent when dusty pinch-hit patterson for hairston in the eighth with one on and no one out, down by four runs. not to sit around and second-guess dusty (i would need a paid staff of dozens to do it well), but clearly what you need in that situation is a sustained rally and hairston is your man to try to get aboard and put a man in scoring position with nobody out. however, dusty followed his anima and patterson fulfilled the deathwish by fanning. neifi then continued his widely-expected fall from grace by grounding into the inning-ending double play.
today's opener of a four-game set against the hapless rockies finds hairston on the bench with patterson back in center, hollandsworth in left and neifi leading off. i sincerely hope this isn't indicative of the future. the cubs are already struggling to get aboard and score.
removing one of your most effective base-cloggers makes little sense in this context. sitting eight back and trailing 4-1 in the eighth as i write, making arsonist jason jennings look like the greg maddux of old (jennings has tossed just 80 pitches to 27 batters!), it's hard not to be disconsolate. the schedule gets much tougher now, and the cubs haven't won a series against a winning team yet. the cubbies are gonna need all the help they can get at the top.
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