On a night when three of the worst teams in baseball kept their respective powerhouse opponents at bay -the Pirates played the Dodgers, the Reds faced the Cardinals and the Nationals battled the Phillies– even the Chicago Cubs saw a glimpse of offense as they led the Atlanta Braves, just as the apocalypse seemed to be setting in on Wednesday night.
Unfortunately, the stars couldn’t quite align. Chicago once again played too much like the Cubs and fell to the Braves after an eighth inning homerun by Chipper Jones, while only the Pirates, Indians and Blue Jays were able to edge out wins against divisional favorites Los Angeles, Chicago (White Sox) and Texas.
The Phillies and the Cardinals were both able to come back and win against their opponents correspondingly, giving each of them two wins on the season.
Lou Piniella failed to ward off recent job security rumors with the loss on Wednesday, after the Cubs’ offense had failed to make any noise in their first two games of the young 2010 season against the Braves.
Ryan Dempster had a productive outing in his first start of the season, throwing six innings with three hits and one run allowed on his way to nine strikeouts in the no-decision.
How long will the Chicago front office wait for the lackluster offense to respond? Well, with the most impatient fans in the entire league, my guess is that Piniella may be on his way out.
Many people may say that it’s still early in the season, and that there are 160 games left. News flash geniuses, this kind of inconsistency has been going since the Clinton administration.
As someone who calls himself part of the illustrious Wrigley Faithful, the only option that I can see is to mix up the lineup or change the coaching staff before it gets too late.
Cubs fans may seem their first taste of spring sensation Tyler Colvin, rookie, in the coming games, after outfielders Alfonso Soriano, Marlyn Bird and Kosuke Fukedome have had spotty performances in the last two games.
The best route four Chicago may be to first implement Colvin in the form of pinch-hit at bats, in the way that the New York Yankees have used veteran Randy Winn in the past two games against the Red Sox.
Though spring training statistics are often scoffed at and forgotten, Colvin’s success of late may translate to the big show and could help shake things up in a cryptic Chicago lineup.
With the third highest payroll in Major League Baseball – the Cubs are behind both the New York Mets and the New York Yankees at over $135 million – Chicago should be a perennial powerhouse in the National League, but have fallen short in recent years.
Changes need to be made before it’s too late for the Chicago Cubs and the first step may need to be a team without Lou Piniella.