It's Tuesday, September 16, and the Chicago Cubs have an eight-game lead over the division rival Milwaukee Brewers. Ryan Dempster has given the Cubs six good innings and manager Lou Pinella calls for right-handed relief pitcher Bob Howry.
In the past, Howry has been the Cubs' stopper, a reliable setup man, but as I sit in the left bleachers and see Lou call for Howry the crowd begins to boo. All over the bleachers you hear fan after fan repeating "Howry stinks, what are you doing Lou" (of course the Wrigley bleacher faithful used other words) and I sat and thought to myself, "what has happened to Howry?"
The fans continued to boo when Howry threw four straight balls to walk the first batter he faced. The boos got much much louder, and that was it for Howry. Many people around baseball believe the Cubs have one of if not the best bullpen in baseball. But can they go through the playoffs pitching Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood every night, or relying on rookie Jeff Samardzija?
Howry has an ERA of well over five and it seems his days as an effective pitcher have passed him by. He has always been primarily a one-pitch pitcher, throwing a mid-90's moving fastball, but this year he has no movement and his fastball has lost kick.
That said, the cubs need Howry if they are going to make one last run in the playoffs. Cub fans need to get behind him now before we lose him for the rest of the season. We need Howry to regain his 2007 form if the Cubs are going to end their horrific 100-year drought.