In Response to DGU: Who Believed Lou should have let Pie take his at bat rather than have Ward hit:
When it was evident Melvin was going to stick with his righty in that spot with the game tied, the question is who gives us the best chance to drive in some runs. With Soriano already in the game defense positioning isn't an issue so you can freely remove pie if you choose to. So, now the question is what left handed bat, do you want opposing the righty with game tied at 4-4 bags loaded 1 out? Daryle Ward is our most powerful left handed bat, & second best left-handed hitter behind Fukodome. He is much more of an RBI threat than Pie. Ward is a lot less likely to strike out than Pie and Ward does not chase pitches with the propensity that Pie does. Ward has made his living coming off the bench as a pinch hitter who provides a big left-handed bat with great power along with good command for an RBI man. When are pinch hitters with big bats generally used late in game situations with games on the line up/or down a run or 2. Ward has made a career coming up and performing in spots like these. You want to know how valuable Daryle Ward is, especially to our team that is heavy with right handed bats, read what his former manager Bobby Cox thinks about Ward. When Cox learned Atlanta could not re-sign Ward and that Hendry snatched up Ward, Cox got the news while driving and drove off the road he was so angry.
Daryle Ward gave us an advantage in the match up facing the pitcher and Ward gave us the best chance for success in that spot. Meaning he gave us the highest percentages of not striking out, and at least driving in 1 run(the go ahead run) with a sac fly or even a bases loaded walk while any hit would drive in at least 1 and most likely to. It turned out that’s exactly what he did he jumped on first pitch fast ball for a 2 run RBI double for the win. Lou made a sequence of great decisions by out thinking Melvin and thinking ahead to put his ball club (our CUBBIES) in the best possible position to try to win a ball. Every pitcher, manager, & opposing player would have rather faced Felix "free swinging" Pie with the game on the line than Daryle Ward because it is very easy to get Pie out after getting ahead and there are many times you do not even have to throw a strike to get Pie out & most of the time all you need is 1.
Felix Pie still has a lot of potential for great success, and the ability to make substantial offensive contributions to help this team win this year. He needs to continue to work hard, like all of us have been hearing. If he listens to sweet swinging Lou, and Gerald Perry and shortens up his swing while developing a better eye, and focusing on fundamentals he can really help us out in a stretch of the season. We have already seen him have some nice pressure filled at bats that have helped us win ball games or put is into a position to win ball games, the hit in Pittsburgh, we all know about the homerun at home against the Mets, but even in a losing effort in Cincinnati he had a nice at bat in the top of the 9th down 5-3 facing Francisco Cordero. One of the leagues most respected closer’s who typically locates well and has a very solid fastball with some nasty off speed pitches, and with tools like this you would imagine he would have had his way with Felix especially in the 9th inning. As I recall, Fontenot singled with 1 out right in front of Pie, and Pie quickly fell behind 0-2 and at this point I though he had no chance against the high heat, anything off speed, or a fastball low & away because he tries to pull everything. But to his credit Felix fouled off a couple and took some nasty pitches for balls that he normally would have swung at, and soon worked the count to 2-2 I believe before lining a low and away fastball to left center gap just over the shortstop because his head stayed on the ball he shortened up his swing a little bit and instead of trying to pull everything he stayed with the pitch and hit it to opposite field to get on base and help us get in a position to win the game, even though we did end up winning that game Fontenot at home, D lee's ground out, Felix helped his team get in a position to win.
We all know at 23 he’s still young and needs at bats to improve but when you have the quality of team we do with the line up we have when your ultimate goals are much higher than just developing young talent and improving Pie's approach at the plate there are times he’s going to have his bat taken out of the game or be out because of a double switch. We all know his defense is special and looks like he possesses a lot of the same tools & talents defensively that Andruw Jones used to win himself all those gold gloves. That caliber of defense in Center Field is hard to come by and is an asset to have especially at Wrigley Field with the wind. Coupled with the fact Pie has nothing left to prove at the minor league level, he hit well over .300 at triple AAA every time he went back down last year yet he could barely sustain .250 in the bigs. That’s just the MLB, and the fact Felix got away with a lot of his bad habits at Iowa was, because he is so athletically gifted and possess so much raw talent. Lou did the right thing reconstructing his swing and approach at the plate because he was not going to sustain success at the highest level at his old approach. We all know the more at bats a youngster like Felix gets the better he will get and the more comfortable he will become at the plate. I think the more Major League at bats he gets the better or just a short week or two in AAA with that hitting coach that came up to Wrigley that understands Pie's tendency and understands the new swing that he needs to master. I think the AAA Iowa is not ideal and only should be done under an emergency of pitching arms, and if it is done should be very brief and only as a last resort. Everyone including Me, wants to see what Pie can do with all his god given ability, and yes at times it is a little frustrating at times when he gets limited at-bats when he’s working hard to improve but I am sure he is learning more and more with every passing day in the bigs and with every at bat he does get. However everyone in the Cubs organization wants to see Pie develop including Lou, if he didn't he wouldn't have spent his own attention to work specifically with him I do no think he is in a pissing war with Hendry and the cubs front office over the use of Pie. Lou himself has said Pie has proven himself in AAA at the plate & that its time for him to learn & come into his own at the Major league Level.
Once again everyone’s goal's and wishes throughout the cub’s organization is Winning Championships, Division, N.L., & World Series. When winning is your main concern there are many times the process of developing young talent is slowed down a little bit just to win. Look at Soto as an example & last year with all the catcher problems we had with Blanco’s, neck the fight & trade of Barrett for Bowen, then Bowen for Kendall & having Koyie hill up. Koyie Hill is not a major leaguer, Soto is but we where in a tight playoff race and there where some kinks Soto had to work on & he still does this year but at the time bringing up a kid in the June & July and throwing him in the middle of a tight playoff race is a tough call to make. It did however work out he came up in September and blew Lou's socks of and got two starts in the NLDS. It looked like he should have been up earlier but with a position as pivotal as a catcher and with our organizations goal of winning it was a tough call to make. Although Pie & Soto's situations are different they are similar in the sense that because Lou is weighing the task at hand of Winning Now versus Pie's development, and I think it is the smart thing to do. In a perfect world we could have both but it is not and we are forced to trade off a little bit wouldn't you rather be winning than be losing and have Pie starting everyday & have to endure many mistakes that young kids make? With what the moron said above what if we were focused primarily on developing Pie and we let him take the at bat and he struck out or hit into D.P. and game stayed tied at 4 and we wound up losing in extras and wasted Marmol n Woody? Everyone on here would want Lou's head. Remember Upton's play on Saturday taking his time allowing Soriano to gallop home?
By the way baseball is a team game there are times it is better for your team if the bat is out of your hand and that’s how it is with Pie right now and I cannot honestly believe that you can say with a straight face that you would rather have Felix "free swinging" Pie up in that spot yesterday than Pinch Hitter deluxe Daryle Ward? If you do your crazy and should stop posting and start watching the games to learn something. With what I said above that’s not to say Lou is giving up on Felix Pie it is just that his emphasis is on winning now as it should be with our current lineup & situation you only get so many chances to win & you have to do what ever you can to capitalize on those and take advantage of those in an effort to get in the best possible position to win. So, after that lets please try to tune down the Lou Bashing at least on the Felix Pie situation -- god knows nothing can stop the Fonzi lead off talk but halting the pie nonsense would be nice. I think there are still plenty of people here that cannot forget and escape Dusty.
Lou has won 3 World Series rings, two as a player, and one as a manager. He has been Manager of the year two times in his career, and had a case to be made for last years. He has been to the post season as a manager 6 times and has taken three different teams to the post season. He tied a record winning 116 games I think. How many of the so called manager experts on here that beat Lou like a school boy can compare to those accomplishments on any level.
Lou knows his team better than any of us, he knows information about them that is important & that we the fan does not know about. Just because he does not sound like a Scholar in post game press conferences everyone on here thinks he’s a moron and they think they can manage the Chicago Cubs because they manage their sons little league team or watch every single game like we all do. Lou is just about as good as they get, we are lucky we have a manager like him there are plenty of games from last year we won as a result of him the 2-1 win at the cell with the squeeze play, that last series at Wrigley at home when Dempster got in a jam in the 9th turned out to be a big game, changing rotation to get Big Z an extra start by using the all-stark break to his advantage, Managing a bullpen, not scared to make moves or bump veterans for younger kids that were playing better than Jaque Jones and Cliff Floyd among many others such as Cesar Izturis. It took a full season but Lou has finally exterminated the Dusty free swinging approach and implemented the patented Lou Piniella patient offense.
Lets cut this guy some slack and praise him he has done a lot of good for our beloved Cubbies, lets not lose sight of all the good that he has done keep in mind nobody is perfect and nobody can predict the future and what’s going to happen with 100% certainty. Lets enjoy the ball club that he has help molded, lets sit back and enjoy this summer, I am willing to let his track record, resume, accomplishments, and more importantly his 3 world series rings speak for themselves as opposed to some blogger with limited baseball experience and knowledge who thinks he knows more than Lou Piniella.