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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Dusty, Jose, and Neifi

After a good start on opening day where the Cubs scored 16 runs on 23 hits they managed just 4 runs tonight in losing 5-4. What is frustrating is that having gotten to within 5-4 in the top of the 8th, the Derrek Lee singles in the top of the 9th and steals second with two outs. With the pitcher due up against right-handed reliever Brandon Lyon, Dusty Baker looks down his bench and who does he call on? You got it. Neifi Perez. Ground out, game over. To add injury to insult in the 7th Dusty pinch hit Jose Macias. Hmmm.

Well, the Cubs bench is certainly weak. Dusty could have selected:

Henry Blanco
Jason Dubois
Jerry Hairston

Now, none of these guys are top notch hitters (although the jury is still out on Dubois) and you can't really call Blanco a hitter but clearly both Dubois and Hairston are better options than either Macias or Perez. So why does Dusty insist on shooting himself in the foot by pinch hitting these guys? One theory of course is that Dusty dislikes young players and so we probably won't see much of Dubois before he's sent down in favor of some overpriced veteran. Another is that he has favorites and God help us Macias and Perez have become so for Dusty.

Note to Jim Hendry: Don't give Dusty a bench populated with weak hitting infielders. He'll use them as pinch hitters.

My fear is that a weak bench that costs games will become a theme for the 2005 Cubs.

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