i was amazed last night at one of dusty's unpredictable and inept in-game moves which exactly opposed what i imagined he should do. down by four in the bottom of the eighth, the young lefty chacin -- who really sparkled -- had been lifted for vinnie chulk, a righty. with the top of the order in hairston coming up, i thought the cubs might be set up for a rally.
instead, dusty lifted hairston for korey the klown.
in the eighth down by four, you need an extended rally. rallies consist of men on base. hairston gets on base -- at a .385 clip against righthanders this year. the klown, of course, does not get on base against anyone. this is old news.
if there's two guys on and one out, then sure -- i understand taking a chance on klown power. (and when that very freakin' situation arose in the ninth, korey's punchy stick had already been wasted.) but to lead off the inning? what for? to steal a base? you need four runs! you're not running anyway!
patterson did what he was destined to do -- three pitches, two swings (including the first goddamn pitch he saw -- natch!) and a grounder to second. at least he didn't fan.
as an aside -- it is still shocking to me somehow to see how little intellectual bearing patterson brings to the plate. there's utterly no plan. i've come to the conclusion that he's just too stupid to maintain an idea at the plate. he must have been told to have an idea up there a million times by now. why doesn't he? why is he swinging at the first pitch he sees off the bench? why is he swinging at the first pitch a new reliever throws out of the pen? why does he consistently go down swinging on the fastball at the eyes that we all know is coming? because, despite almost 2000 major-league at bats, despite endless remedial coaching, despite witnessing derrek lee's disciplined approach and amazing year, he hasn't figured anything out. too dim. and that's why his on-base percentage has crawled to an arid .301 with few prospects of ever getting significantly higher.
anyway, all this seems to be more evidence that dusty is a quite poor game manager who still, despite decades in the game, does not understand basic offensive concepts. he thinks that he didn't take a walk, so no one has to. ever.
dusty only played under walter alston for one year for the dodgers, and lasorda ran him out there for the better part of a decade. tommy's teams in the baker era were heavy on power and only average on walks, relying heavily on pitching. remind you of anything? just a coincidence? i think maybe not.
but can't someone remind dusty that the best dodger teams of those years, the 1977-78 back-to-back NL west champs, were second in the NL in OBP over that span? that even the strike-shortened 1981 club was fourth? and that the 1983 club he probably remembers so well may not have taken a walk, but didn't score just too damn much either?
i suppose no one's going to teach an old dog new tricks. after all, he's still of the mind that if tommy john, don sutton and burt hooton can toss 240 innings a year, so should mark prior, kerry wood and carlos zambrano -- and forget what the doctors say. but the cubs really suffer sometimes for this "players' manager" who lets his team run out of control -- and i'll be happy to see the back of him when the day comes.