Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Sloppy Seconds
2005-05-12 09:19
by Derek Smart

I'm not complaining about the ugliness of the Cubs' second win in a row, as whining about the aesthetics of victory is unbecoming in those starved for the manna of triumph. But just because I greatly enjoyed the destination doesn't mean I liked the journey.

In any case, since beggars can't be choosers, I'll just revel in conquest's warm glowing warming glow, while I shoot you all some bullet points.

  • I feel so bad for Jerry Hairston. He's not playing horribly - in fact, he went 4 for 10 in this series - and with his solid OBP and lack of power, he's a good candidate for the first or second spot in the order. Yet, there he was yesterday, batting seventh.

    This may seem like a lesser insult than his stint in the eighth spot on Tuesday, but that was in a lineup with Michael Barrett and Aramis Ramirez. Yesterday, while he was deemed worthy of more potential at bats than Henry Blanco - a decision on par for difficulty with the one I make to breathe every few seconds - he was hitting behind none other than Cub Town whipping boy, Jose Macias.

    I'll pass on overstaying my welcome in the land of Macias-bashing and simply hope that Jerry can overcome the grievous wound to his pride.

  • I truly hate bunting with men on first and second. Not that having Holly attempting to do just that in the bottom of the ninth yesterday wasn't the right play - it most certainly was - it's just one of those plays that is so rarely executed well, at least by the Cubs, that I always cringe seeing it applied.

    In fact, had his first bunt attempt been a little less foul, the pop-up could have easily resulted in a double-play, as Jerry Hairston had a huge jump off of second in an effort to avoid the thing that I usually see happen - a force-out at third.

    Thankfully, when Hollandsworth was unable to keep his second try out of the air, Hairston was sufficiently close to the bag that even if Heath Bell hadn't dropped the ball on the transfer he would have made it back. Still, it illustrates why I dislike the play so, even when it's the right thing to do, when I can feel relief at its failure resulting in only one out.

  • A little advice for anyone who might be offered the Cubs closer job over the coming weeks: don't take it! First JoBo's wrist, next LaTroy's psyche, then Foxy's elbow, and now Dempster's forearm. It's like they're re-re-making the Amityville Horror, only this time it's about an occupation that's out to destroy anyone attempting it.

    It's like being a general under Stalin in the late thirties, except they died for failing less. I beg of you Dusty, if you want the carnage to end, don't name anyone else as your closer! Unless, of course, it's Jose Macias.

  • It's just so obvious, but it bears repeating - Derrek Lee can play ball.

It's an off day, so rest and hope for the best when the Cubs go east for their first series in DC. In the meantime, if you haven't heard or didn't get around to it, let me remind you that I'll be at The Cell this coming Wednesday with Scott Long and Will Carroll of the Toaster's own, The Juice, for a 1:05 game featuring the Texas Rangers and some other team from Chicago. Go here for details, as Scott is the one being kind enough to play herdmaster, and I hope to see you there!

2005-05-12 09:25:41
1.   Rich Lederer
I truly hate bunting with men on first and second.

From a run expectancy standpoint, bunting with runners on first and second is the best time of any to sacrifice, assuming the right situation (score, inning, batter, pitcher, etc.). It is actually my favorite time. There are many other situations I frown upon but that is not one.

2005-05-12 09:38:52
2.   Derek Smart
You know, it's not that I don't think it's a good play sometimes, it's that I see it messed up so often (which may be peculiar to the Cubs).

If folks managed to execute it better, I'd be more than fine with it, particularly in the situation it was used in yesterday. What I probably should have said was that I feel mind-numbing anxiety whenever the Cubs attempt such a play, and as such, I hate it - not that I hate it in general principal.

2005-05-12 09:44:29
3.   Zoompet
The only issue I had with the play was why have Hollandsworth bunt. While he does have 13 sack hits in his career, he didn't appear all that comfortable up there trying to lay one down. Why not use a pitcher who is asked to bunt more often and which also have saved Hollandsworth's bat for later in the game.
2005-05-12 09:50:01
4.   Derek Smart
Hollandsworth had come in during the top of the inning when Dempster was put in the game. Dusty double-switched to both make sure he had a non-pitcher's bat in the lineup should what happened happen, and so that Dubois' glove wouldn't be a liability during the inning. So, while Holly was obviously uncomfortable up there, he was already there and for good reason, and the play, despite my anxiety, was the right one in my mind.
2005-05-12 13:21:50
5.   Cubdom Byron
I'm with Rich on this one. Unless you're down by a bunch, bunting guys over when there are men on first and second with none out is a good decision.

You're probably much more likely to ground into a double play (especially if you are Todd Hollandsworth) than bunting into one (unless you are Todd Hollandsworth).

I was just disappointed to see how badly that play turned out. Hollandsworth who is a professional (pinch) hitter ought to be able to lay down a bunt.

2005-05-12 13:28:30
6.   Rich Lederer
What I probably should have said was that I feel mind-numbing anxiety whenever the Cubs attempt such a play, and as such, I hate it - not that I hate it in general principal.

You all but said as much in your article, Derek. Maybe I'm the one who should be sacrificed.

2005-05-12 19:40:03
7.   James
I don't feel bad for Jerry Hairston... I'm sure he'd take the two wins instead of the rampant losing he's experienced while the Orioles are leading the East.

I feel worse for us Cubs fans, especially since this shows what's going to happen as soon as Todd Walker comes back to the lineup.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.