Filed: September 2nd, 2008
Click here for photos of 2008 NLDS:Game 2
Disgusting. That's the only word that I find appropriate right now to describe the Cubs in Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS. The team had a complete meltdown in front of 42,136 -- and a national TV audience -- resulting in a 10-3 loss to the Dodgers that has put their season on life support, and raised serious questions about the composition of the team and management.
And when I say complete, I assure you that it isn't hyperbole. Of course, most of you have seen the mess by now.
Consider: The starting pitching. It isn't a stretch to say that Carlos deserved better, but his composure was put to the test in the bizarre second inning, and the innings that followed. Zambrano would last six-plus, and while only three of his seven runs were allowed, he did himself no favors on the mound Thursday.
Consider: The defense, who took what should have at worst been a two-run second inning, and turned it into something from an Abbott and Costello bit. Let's see; first with Andre Ethier on, Ryan Theriot inexplicably tries to bare hand a James Loney hit ball, rather than reaching with the glove. I'll grant you that he had to shift direction, as he was running to second to cover second, but he had a play on the ball, and he did not have to bare hand. As if he was talented enough a shortstop to do so anyway.
Mark DeRosa would then blow a potential double play when he'd bobble a ball hit by Blake DeWitt, that allowed Ethier to score.
Then, with a sure out at first, and at least the chance of an inning-ending double play, Derrek Lee bobbles a ball, allowing Casey Blake to reach. Rafael Furcal would then single in a run, before Russell Martin sent a shot -- and I mean a shot -- into center for a double. Two runs score, and the route is officially on. Maybe you let that be, but considering that Aramis Ramirez would commit one in the fourth, and Theriot in the ninth, it isn't a stretch to say they blew it.
Consider: The hitters, who did nothing against Dodgers starter Chad Billingley, who left one fan in the stands wondering when the Dodgers resurrected Cy Young. The Cubs 1-4 hitters were 4-16, with zero RBI. None.
Consider: The bullpen, who allowed three runs after Zambrano's departure. Even the Carlos Marmol/Kerry Wood combo was no good.
Consider: The manager and coaches, for completely blowing this game. I don't like to disparage coaching about this sort of thing normally, as grown men have to go out on the field and execute. Your manager just isn't going to catch the ball for you. But there were just too many managerial braincramps to ignore.
First Kosuke Fukudome, who apparently Lou is just now figuring out what anybody who has seen the Cubs live over the last few months already knew; he's done. At least for this year. The guys needs to go home, relax, and come back next season. MLB pitchers have adjusted, and Kosuke's headspace is just too wrecked to properly adjust. His body is shot, and you're just not going to tweak his approach enough in-season to get him well.
Lou's postgame quote was priceless:
"From now on, I don't want to hear about Fukudome anymore as far as whether he's going to play or not. I'm going to play [Mike] Fontenot or Reed Johnson or somebody else, and that's the end of that story. The kid is struggling, and there's no sense sending him out there anymore."
Now call me simple, but this was obvious. I can understand starting him in Game 1 to see if you could get something, but hitting him in the two-hole was inexcusable. And letting him go again after going 0-4 was just silly. Consider as well, that with two on and two out in the seventh, Joe Torre brought in right-hander Cory Wade to face Kosuke. Why? Because bringing in a lefty would have resulted in matchup-loving Lou going with Reed Johnson. They wanted that matchup because he hits like a pitcher, and everyone seems to know this but Lou. Point being, you could have gone to Fontenot then. Pie. Ward. Some other left hander who could have given you something. Instead, he sticks with Kosuke, who strikes out; again.
Or again, when he left Neal Cotts in to face right-hander Matt Kemp earlier in the seventh. Everyone knew what was going to happen, and it did. Kemp sent a sharp double down the line, scoring Manny Ramirez. Explain to me please with any number of righties in the pen, and a day off tomorrow, why a manager would do this?
Bottom line, Lou was outcoached.
I'm not one to be a big cheerleader, but I know anything is possible. Just win a game. One game, and we'll see. But between you and me, I've been keeping a little cash tucked away for World Series tickets; just in case. Let's just say that I'm looking at other purchases this morning.