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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Pirates, Wednesday 8/30, 11:35 CT

Phil Rogers takes a swing at Dusty Baker's contention that Derrek Lee's injury cost the Cubs 10-15 games this year:

I put that question up for debate among some of baseball's think-tank types, including the brainy bunch from Baseball Prospectus. Their Will Carroll had a quick response when asked if Lee could have meant "10, 12, 15 games by himself."

"That's impossible," he said, confirming my instincts.

Rob Neyer, ESPN's resident numbers-cruncher, called the premise "absurd."

This is more proof that Baker, who has ignored numbers when they could actually benefit the club (for example, on-base percentage), is trying to invent a statistic that would absolve him from responsibility for the morass that is the 2006 Cubs.

I'd also like to point you today to Bruce Miles' column, in which he sums up neatly the case for Dusty Baker to go:

There?s plenty of culpability to go around for the mess that is the Cubs. Hendry did not put together a deep enough pitching staff for Baker. Instead, he relied on the unreliable and got burned when Kerry Wood and Mark Prior turned up unhealthy and Wade Miller didn?t recover as quickly as Hendry and the Cubs had hoped.

No matter who the manager is next year, Hendry will have to revamp his thinking on player procurement. He and Baker are cut from the same cloth on how they value offensive players. Baker?s comments last week about how he didn?t like the ?base-clogging? aspects of on-base percentage were simply absurd.

What, Dusty, you don?t want baserunners because they might be slow? Any kind of baserunner is a good baserunner, and if you have enough on-base and slugging (hint, hint, Mr. Hendry) in your lineup, you?re going to score a ton of runs.

Precisely. Time to get someone in here who'll follow that advice.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Juan Mateo
J. Mateo
vs. Victor Santos
V. Santos
1-2 W-L 5-9
3.38 ERA 5.59
12 SO 75
10 BB 41
2 HR 16
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs
Oh, does it matter? The Cubs will send out nine players. The Pirates will send out nine players. One of the teams will win. The Cubs haven't been swept in Pittsburgh since April, 1999.

Of more interest to you as a baseball fan should be the wild-card races; first, the White Sox win over Tampa Bay last night mathematically eliminated the Royals from playoff contention. And in the NL, eight teams are within four games of the wild-card lead. If they had to break a tie between that many teams, it could push the playoffs into December. Cubs Gameday

Discuss amongst yourselves.