You Won’t Like Me When I’m Angry

Image courtesy of Marvel.com
You know I try to be positive, right? If you’ve read my Cubs profile, you know I do my best to think from the perspective of the players, the manager, and the general manager and to try to understand why they do what they do. I give them the benefit of the doubt.

As this Twitter discussion with Lou, co-host of Cubscast, shows, Monday’s game inspired a flash of violence that made an impression on my coffee table. But the anger faded. For the most part, I try to stay positive and hope for the best. Heck, my last post was a Romper Room clip. But yesterday’s game had me furious—and I’m still fuming. There might be serious furniture casualties if this keeps up.
In some ways, yesterday’s loss to the Phillies was the easiest to stomach of all the games in the sweep. The Phillies who are supposed to hit well did. The reigning AL Cy Young showed the award was no fluke. Ryan Dempster pitched okay except for a few costly mistakes. The bullpen didn’t implode. The offense was stymied by a pitcher who does that to teams on a regular basis.
But here’s what really browned my ivy:
  • Milton Bradley was moved from the #2 spot, where he’s excelled, to the #3 spot, where he has no business hitting.
  • Kosuke hit 2nd, instead of leading off where he has excelled. (For a detailed and extremely clever explanation of why both these moves were idiotic, read on.)
  • Ryan Theriot hit leadoff, where he has done well, but not as well as when he hits 7th or 8th.
  • Aaron Miles is still on this team, and he played yet again.
So I’m angry at Lou for screwing up the lineup, especially for messing with Milton Bradley’s hot streak. I mean, COME ON! Bradley clearly thrived in the lower pressure of the #2 slot. He’s hitting almost 200 points better as the #2 hitter than in the 3-slot. When he tries to get on base and hit good pitches hard, he’s brilliant. When he tries to hit for power like a #3 hitter, he is not good. Lou: put Milton back in the #2 slot and do it NOW.
And I’m mad at Jim Hendry. I won’t criticize his off-season moves, because very few of them have turned out to reflect statistical projections. I won’t blame him for that. But I WILL blame him (in all-capped italics if I must) for the move he’s not making now. Aaron Miles needs to go, and it should have happened a long time ago.

The Cubs have Aaron Miles because the Cardinals decided he wasn’t good enough to play for them any more. It’s not like releasing him would bring shame to anyone but Aaron Miles. I don’t hate Aaron Miles. He seems nice. But he has not played at a major-league level all year long. Maybe his injuries excuse that. Maybe the frustration is eating him up. Whatever the cause of his meltdown, I feel bad for him. But I don’t want him around anymore an any role more demanding than assuming Yosh Kawano’s clubhouse duties.
You can read Aaron Miles’s full stats at baseball-reference.com, but I’ll highlight these for you:
I’m not mad at Aaron Miles. I’m sure he’s doing everything he can. But it’s time for Jim Hendry to give him a wonderful assortment of parting gifts including the home game version of The Mendoza Line Challenge. Miles is taking up a roster spot, and the list of players more deserving of being on the roster than Aaron Miles is long and includes my brother’s roommate’s cat.
I’m fed up with inexcusable bad decisions. Yesterday’s game was the prime example of stupid, indefensible management. Jim, Lou, I have been your advocate and defender, but you are testing my freaking limits.
[Yosh Kawano image courtesy of Baseball Hall of Fame]

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