Boy, something stinks and it sure ain’t the fish. The Cubs continued their downward spiral by getting killed by the Marlins. The Marlins payroll is almost the same as what Kerry Wood makes in a year. The day after an inspiring comeback against the White Sox, the Cubs could not carry any of that momentum into a winning streak. The Marlins, who were on their own seven game losing streak, got a much needed win at the Cubs’ expense. Cubs’ rookie Sean Marshall completely lost control, allowed seven runs and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings, walking four, struck out two and hit two batters. He also gave up a home run to the Marlins pitcher. The Marlins’ pitcher, former Cub Ricky Nolasco, who went to Florida in the Juan Pierre trade, gave up one run and four hits over seven innings, making his second career start.
The problem with this team is they can never get anything going. If the hitting is good, the pitching is bad, if the hitting is bad, the pitching is good. No defense, no fundamental, no plate discipline. What are pitching coach Larry Rothchild and hitting coach Gene Clines doing? I have seen no improvement from the young players. That’s part of the coaching staffs job. I can’t believe all the rumors I am hearing about Dusty being offered a contract extension soon. Blame the injuries, blame whoever you want, but here is a fact about Dusty’s tenure here in Chicago. In the three years and the first two months that Dusty has been here, if the Cubs don’t hit a home run, the Cubs winning percentage is .330. That is not good, especially when the wind blows in half the time and Wrigley and especially since this team has very limited power in the lineup. Right now their winning percentage is .409. They are almost ten games under .500. The Cubs have lost 16 out of their last 20 games. And you want to give this guy an extension??!!
Is it all Dusty’s fault? No, of course not. This organization from the top down is messed up. Cubs President Andy MacPhail addressed the media on the state of the Cubs, "Starting pitching has been somewhat erratic. "It shouldn’t be a total shock given the experience level of 60 percent of your rotation. The starting pitching has been erratic and the bullpen has held up. We just need to knock them in. You win games by knocking the runs home."
"You just have to try to build up as big a surplus as you can. Part of the idea that [Cubs general manager Jim Hendry] had in signing Wade Miller was that he would develop a surplus for the latter part of the season. His needs became more immediate with Mark [Prior] getting hurt and [Kerry] Wood having knee surgery."
MacPhail added "Starting pitching is a precious commodity in baseball. You understood the injury history of our pitchers, and you had [Jerome] Williams, [Glendon] Rusch, Marshall, Guzman, Hill, Wade Miller, Prior, Wood, [Carlos] Zambrano, [Greg] Maddux, and the numbers were there. You got hit early and you got hit hard. It would be difficult for almost all organizations to compensate for losing that many guys that soon."
That’s just the problem Andy. You guys knew the injury history of Wood and Prior, yet did you allow Hendry to sign a big name pitcher? Did you open the purse strings just a little? And Hendry, weren’t there still good pitchers out there after if became obvious that Prior wasn’t going to start? Instead this team was going to rely on Zambrano, 40 year old Maddux, Wood and Prior, three rookies, and two garbage pitchers. That’s not exactly a surplus in my book. The Cubs needed to sign a big name pitcher to help the team out with the Wood/Prior problem and they didn’t. They need to sign another big bat to complement Lee and Ramriez. They didn’t. In a season where they had to make some noise after the South Side won the series, the Cubs sat on their hands. They needed to sign a strong leadoff hitter, the top two out there were Johnny Damon and Rafael Furcal. The Cubs couldn’t sign either. They needed a big bat, Giles was out there, Wilkerson, Manny Ramirez was complaining, Tejada wanted out, the Marlins were selling everything and Cabrera might have been picked up, did we get any of those guys? No. Starting pitchers were available, who did we sign? No one.
It’s going to take a miracle to straighten this mess out. When you struggle against the Marlins, when they make you look this bad, when you get schalacked by a team that is essentially a Triple-A team.
What does this say about the Cubs?