Indefensible

Mike Fontenot, your plane may be leaving for Des Moines soon.

Last night's 5-3 Cub loss to the Reds wasn't all Fontenot's fault.

Well, wait. Yes, it pretty much was. Fontenot's error on what would likely have been an inning-ending DP ball (yes, I know you can't assume a DP, but a major league 2B has to make that play) opened up the first inning for the Reds to score three unearned runs.

And Fontenot's ill-advised dash to home with the bases loaded and one out in the 9th, on a Francisco Cordero wild pitch that didn't squirt too far away from Paul Bako, probably cost the Cubs at least one run and maybe a chance to tie the game. Incidentally, just like the replay of a play in Toronto on Sunday showed that the White Sox got jobbed on an obvious tag in the infield, replays appeared to show that plate umpire Tim Welke was blocked from seeing Fontenot's foot possibly getting in under Cordero just before Cordero tagged Fontenot; he may very well have been safe.

Still, as Fontenot himself admitted after the game, it wasn't a very good decision.

There was another error made by Mark DeRosa, with two out in the third inning, that would have ended the inning had the play been made. Adam Dunn, the next hitter, nearly hit a ball into Kentucky for a two-run HR that wound up being the difference in the score.

All of this ruined what was actually a fairly-well pitched game by Ryan Dempster -- who struck out seven, walked one, allowed only four hits and actually lowered his ERA to 2.72.

The bottom line is this: Fontenot, for all his grit and hustle, makes too many mistakes to be an everyday player, especially when a hitter as hot as Ronny Cedeno is right now on the bench. What Lou has to do is either get DeRosa back to his normal position at 2B when Aramis Ramirez returns (and man, have the Cubs missed A-Ram the last two days), or get Cedeno in at SS and move Ryan Theriot to 2B, a position he is better suited for.

Let's not fail to give Felix Pie credit for a sensational catch he made, stealing a HR from Ken Griffey Jr. in the fifth inning. It's the second great catch made by a Cub outfielder in the last two weeks -- both of which, including the Reed Johnson diving grab in Washington, came in games the Cubs lost 5-3.

Good idea: Lou says he's going to skip Jason Marquis' turn on the off day Thursday and go with his three best pitchers -- Ted Lilly, Carlos Zambrano and Dempster -- against the Diamondbacks this weekend.

Bad idea: Lou says the Cubs might send Felix Pie to Iowa when Scott Eyre returns, going with 13 pitchers.

I cannot emphasize this enough:

This is a really bad idea.

You need only look at the boxscore from this ridiculous 12-inning Brewers/Cardinals game from April 22 -- only two weeks ago -- to see how bad an idea a 13 or 14 man pitching staff is. Three different pitchers pinch-hit (none of them did anything useful), and because of an injury and a short-handed bench, Tony LaRussa had to play Albert Pujols at second base.

Just imagine a scenario where Derrek Lee had to play second base and Prince Fielder barreled into him to break up a double play. A 13-man pitching staff is unnecessary and makes your bench too shorthanded to be of any use; I'm not even convinced a 12-man staff is necessary.

In any case, with Z on the mound tonight, the Cubs can stop this baby two-game losing streak before it gets out of hand.

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