The Dusty Baker Experiment

Cubs 5 Marlins 7

6 innings late and no cigar. The Cubbies dug themselves a hole they could not get out of. Again the Cubs got no clutch hitting, 10 LOB. Poor starting pitching, Glendon Rusch had another bad start 5 runs, 4 earned on 8 hits over 4 2/3 innings. Despite all of this, in my eyes there were some bright spots.

With all the things that seemed to go wrong, the bullpen pitched very well. Scott Williamson, Will Ohman and Roberto Novoa held the Marlins hittless the last 3 innings of the ballgame. It was a gut check for these guys and they came through. They held the Marlins in check and the offense almost came back. They scored 5 runs in the 6th inning topped off by a Jerry Harriston double to empty the bases. The Cubs had a chance in the 8th with 2 on, but Lee could not do it again. The Cubs could have easily given up, but they continued to battle until the end.

Another bright spot today was that Dusty stepped out of 'his box'. He played Ronny Cedeno(Ramirez was put on the 15 day DL and they recalled Cedeno from AAA Iowa), mixed up the line-up and played Nomar at third. Nomar has never played third as a professional and the last time he did was in high school. Nomar went to Dusty and asked to play there and Dusty listened. Nomar did make an throwing error today, but I still stay Nomar at third is better that Jose Macias at third. I know this does not seem like major moves, but to me it was. Dusty could have stuck Macias at third, and Nomar at short, and been done with it..he did not. He played Cedeno, he tried Nomar and he hit Barrett 4th. This shows me with all of the changes coming for this team, he has the ability to change with his team. Dusty is known as a 'player's manager', which in my eyes means he plays veterans and stands by them. With the fact that philosophy has not worked, this may teach him change is good...roll with it.

Saturday - Greg Maddux(10-10/4.56) vs. Dontrelle Willis(17-8/2.67)

Look out for the D-Train. Willis is having a Cy Young type season and everytime I hear his name...I just want to cry. Willis was in the Cubs farm system and was traded for Matt Clement, who is now in Boston, and Antonio Alfonseca, who is now pitching for Florida. This trade did not work out too well for the Cubs and Willis seems to rub it in everytime he pitches against them. Although the last time out against the Cubs on July 8, the Cubs got 8 runs on 9 hits and knocked him out in the 4th inning, one of his shortest outings of the season. Willis is a young, exciting pitcher and can dominate a game. He can be beat, but the Cubs will have their hands full. Maddux has to be sharp and needs a win to have a shot at continuing his streak. Be patient, take pitches, stay out of the box...and just win one.


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