The most damning indictment of Dusty Baker and the entire coaching staff, particularly Larry Rothschild, are the walks.
It's much worse from walks allowed than from walks not taken, but the way the Cubs have done both has gone a long way toward generating the 62-91 record with which they awaken this morning.
The Cubs lost to the Phillies 6-2 last night. Cubs pitchers walked seven; the first two of those scored, and that was just about all the Phillies needed. What's bad about the walks isn't JUST that it "clogs up the bases", in the familiar words of someone we all want gone from Chicago in ten days, but that it forces your pitchers to throw so many more pitches than the opposition, thus going far deeper into your bullpen, overtaxing the relief pitchers, leading to more walks and runs scored.
Last night was a perfect example. Les Walrond, who has absolutely no business in a major league uniform, much less starting a game, issued five walks in throwing just a little over three innings, and thus threw seventy-six pitches to get nine outs. This is ridiculous. All told, six Cub pitchers combined for one hundred and seventy-four pitches -- in one LESS inning than Philly starter Brett Myers threw 119 pitches. Oh, and Jae-Kuk Ryu, who has earned at least one more start in this misbegotten season, probably lost that chance when he threw forty relief pitches last night.
Why is it that all of us can see this and a highly-paid major league manager and pitching coach can't?
Just in case Cubs management is reading this and they won't believe me, perhaps they will believe Cubs beat writer Paul Sullivan:
More than that, the Cubs have allowed seventy-four unearned runs, fourth-most in baseball (the Angels, 80, the Indians, 78 and the Pirates, 75, are higher), which shows you in part how bad the Cubs' defense has been this year. Oh, but wait, not according to Dusty Baker, who, when asked about Jacque Jones' season, said:
"An outstanding right field"!?!?!?!?! This leads me to ask, "What games has HE been watching?" Jones has been a poor outfielder. Sure, he can run balls down reasonably well, but his arm is just about the worst I've ever seen out there. Either he throws the ball into the turf ten feet in front of him, or airmails (hey, you kids out there, you DO remember "airmail", right?) it ten feet over the head of its intended target. I note Dusty didn't even mention all the baserunning errors Jones made.
In that same article, Baker said of Ronny Cedeno, referring specifically to the error Cedeno made that probably cost the Cubs Tuesday's game:
As many of you know, I used to like and respect Dusty Baker. But he has clearly gone off the deep end here. It's one thing to back up your players. It's another thing to deny things that everyone else can see in plain sight.
OK, I'm done for today. Thankfully, I didn't even see last night's game, as I attended an open house for Mark's school. It was much more fun to sit in sixth-grade classrooms than to watch the Cubs self-destruct again.