I thought Lou was not classy in the postgame on TBS. He blamed the players, and talked about twelve runs scored in six postseason games on his watch. He said you can’t win with this many runs unless your pitchers throw shutouts.
I don’t think he should have been praising his hitters but in the two games at Wrigley, the only lefthanded hitters in the lineup facing tough righties were Edmonds, a .235 hitter, and Fukudome, whose average had fallen to .257. Fontenot (.305/.395/.514) was not in the lineup until the third game. Micah Hoffpauir, who had pounded the ball all season at Iowa and as recently as last week in New York, was not on the roster.
By contrast, LA had two good young lefthanded hitters in the lineup, Loney and Ethier. Ethier’s numbers on the season resembled Derrek Lee’s. Loney’s were not as good but he matched Lee’s 90 RBI. Ethier drew four walks in the series and scored two runs and Loney had two game-winning hits.
The Cubs had one other .300 hitter in 2008 besides Theriot and Fontenot, Reed Johnson (.303/.358/.420). Johnson is a fine outfielder and arguably the team’s best baserunner. I don’t see his name in any of the three boxscores. Compared to Johnson, Edmonds, who started all three games, is a one-dimensional player whose one dimension is that ugly late uppercut swing, though sometimes his warning-track flies to left reach the basket or the seats.
You can’t play everyone in three games, but if the guys you do play don’t produce, you might want to show a little more humility than Piniella did. He could have deflected some of the blame away from the people who play under him, who are bound to receive a large share of the blame in any case. It’s probably hard to focus on hitting after the pitcher designated your ace–by the manager–walks seven batters, and after your infielders take turns booting ground balls.
Piniella didn’t pitch Ted Lilly, who won more games than Zambrano and as many as Dempster, and was arguably our best pitcher in September.
A day before the first game against the Dodgers, Jim Hendry did what he does best, spending a few million dollars of someone else’s money (it’s not clear whose money at this point) by exercising the Cubs’ 2010 option on Piniella’s services. Lou can’t miss the postseason in 2009 or suffer another first-round loss and expect to manage the following year, so the Cubs may be paying Lou not to manage in 2010 at the same time they continue to pay Soriano and Fukudome not to produce.