The title of today's recap post was suggested in the game thread comments by BCB reader Romero -- thanks, because this title pretty well sums up not only today's game, but the entire season.
The Reds beat the Cubs 5-4 this afternoon, when Ken Griffey Jr. came up to bat for the first time in three weeks and smacked a three-run homer off Scott Eyre. The HR was the 563rd of Griffey's career, tying him with Reggie Jackson for 10th place on the all-time list. Griffey will be 37 in November, and has been injured so often they ought to rename the disabled list after him, and he's probably the one 500-HR slugger of his generation who has had NO steroid allegations made about him. Had he remained healthy, HE might be the one challenging Hank Aaron's home run records.
The Reds aren't a very good team -- they made two errors in the first inning, giving the Cubs four unearned runs.
And a good team would have made that lead hold up. The Cubs aren't a good team either, but you don't need me to tell you that. I thought Wade Miller threw pretty well in his five innings, even though 86 pitches is still a large number of pitches, and only about half of them (44) were strikes. Still, I thought he could have gone one more inning. It's pretty clear that Miller will be offered some sort of contract by the Cubs for next season.
Good, I say. It usually takes more than a year for pitchers who have had the sort of surgery that Miller had, to come completely back. I'd compare him in this sense to Matt Morris, who had a great rookie year in 1998, missed all of the 1999 season and then came back in 2000 as a relief pitcher, before rejoining the Cardinals' rotation in 2001 and having several fine years after that.
Had the Cubs done this with Kerry Wood -- brought him back slowly in 2000 as a reliever -- they might have had similar results.
Anyway, I really don't have a whole lot to say about today's game -- the Cubs just blew another one that they could easily have won, and now they'll have only five chances left this year to do the same. They are 14-26 in one-run games, which should not surprise you at all. One of the reasons this happened today, again, was walks -- the Cubs gave up seven, accounting for all the runs except Griffey's homer. This is another damning indictment of Mr. Nibbler, Larry Rothschild, who should be cashiered next Monday along with the entire coaching staff.
I'll leave you, then, with this information that I have heard this afternoon, and I can already hear some of you giggling about "Al's Sources"; however, I have heard that the Cubs, despite the fact that it would be a good PR move, are not interested in Joe Girardi being their next manager, and that Fredi Gonzalez is apparently high on the radar screen.
That's good, as far as I'm concerned, because as you know if you've been here a while, Gonzalez has been my #1 choice (after I went off the Joey Cora bandwagon). The kicker is, of course, that Gonzalez is likely also the Marlins' #1 choice if they do indeed fire Girardi after Sunday's game.
So if Jim Hendry doesn't want to be left in the dust, he had better announce on Monday that Dusty Baker is not being renewed, and fly Gonzalez in to Chicago the next day to announce his hiring. There's not even a need to go through the pretense of interviews -- Gonzalez was interviewed four years ago, and Hendry certainly knows what his credentials are, and because Gonzalez would be a minority hire, there wouldn't be any flak from the commissioner's office.
Get it done. Time to clean the slate and start fresh as soon as possible.