After watching the Cubs struggle to start the season with a record of 1-3, many Cubs fans are already calling for manager Lou Piniella’s job. So is their criticism of Lou Piniella fair, or are they overreacting only after the four games of a 162 game season. Lets take a look at some of the complaints, and then we will determine whether the Fans are right or not.
Pitching Changes, Bullpen
Many fans wonder why Piniella takes a starter out, even when he is having success in the game. There are a couple reasons why I don’t think Lou Piniella is wrong when he decides to take out a pitcher when he does. For one, it allows the Cubs to use a pinch hitter, at a point in time when they may need a hitter to come off the bench and hopefully start a rally.
Another reason why he may take the starter out, is because it is because he has a high pitch count, and early in the season it is risky to allow a pitcher go over 100 pitches, as their arms usually are not fully stretched out. That was the case with Ryan Dempster this past Wednesday, as even though he went six innings giving up 1 run and striking out 9, he was at 95 pitches after six innings. And, for that reason, Lou Piniella decided to take him out of the game. So I agree with the move Lou Piniella did, by taking him out after six innings.
Not Allowing relievers to pitch more than one inning
The thing Cubs Fans have to understand is that, each reliever in the bullpen has a designated role. Which is why you don’t see relievers go more than one inning in most of the games. Because, in order to allow the rookies to have success they have to be groomed into their role. Meaning, since Caridad and Grabow are considered to be the set-up men, they are going to see most of their time in the eighth innings of games. It is not Lou’s fault that he was not given a true set up guy, he is going with the pitchers that were given to him by Jim Hendry. And until the relievers get accustomed with their new roles or we see a roster move, the bullpen will struggle before it has success.
Lineup/ Who’s Playing
To the Cubs fans that still criticize Lou for not playing the “hot players”, how about you watch a game once in awhile? Because if you paid attention this past week, you will have saw that, that is exactly what Piniella did, he played the players that were having success and benched the players that were not. For instance look at Geovany Soto, he was benched for the past two games in favor of Koyie Hill. As Lou Piniella said ” We need Soto to hit”, and if he doesn’t you can expect Hill to get more starts.
Also did you notice that Tyler Colvin started the past two games for the Cubs in the outfield. After having a good showing on Thursday by hitting is first career home run, he played his way into the starting lineup for Friday night’s game. So, Lou is doing what the fans are calling for, and playing the guys that are producing. So, there is really no grounds to criticize him on that matter.
So as you can see, many Cubs fans are either overreacting to an early start, or just simply not paying attention to what it is happening in the games. So, I suggest that we put to end all this talk about firing Lou Piniella. Because, the Cubs would do more harm than good by firing Lou Piniella during the season.