SWEET LOU’S SWEET PLAN
In today’s Trib Paul Sullivan has 4 key categories for Lou Piniella to improve the Cubs.
He talks about the effect of day games, the wind at Wrigley, adapatability as a team and on-base percentage.
The Cubs had a heinous .319 OBP this year, worst in the NL. They drew only 395 walks, the worst in all of baseball. Sullivan points out Detroit also had a woeful OBP this year yet finished 8th in MLB in runs scored. But they hit for a better average and pounded over 200 homers. It’s one of the reasons I don’t like Detroit long-term. Leyland loves to bunt, and they don’t draw walks. They simply give away too many outs. Teams like that don’t work the pitcher. Like last night, when Detroit saw only 82 pitches from Carpenter through 8 innings. Certainly it was cold and Carpenter is a great pitcher, but it’s still an example.
The Cubs under Dusty Baker were without methods offensively. Dusty’s plan seemed to be “either we will hit or we won’t hit”. It was rather aggravating. Especially considering that like Leyland, Baker loved to bunt. Early and often.
So it was with great pleasure that I read again this morning about Sweet Lou’s sweet plan:
“You want hitters to hit in hitter’s counts,” Piniella said. “Obviously, if you swing at strikes, your chances of succeeding as a hitter are much greater, and if you hit ahead in the count, the batting averages before and against are so much better. … I noticed they didn’t walk all that much. That’s something we’ll try to work on.”
The last sentence is somewhat vague. Perhaps he was just being diplomatic and casual at his press conference. But that area is not just something they need to work on, it’s something they need to correct. I might also add that it’s not just swinging at strikes, it’s making the pitcher throw you strikes. You have to win in your at-bats, forcing the pitcher to work from behind.
Maybe some of these leopards can’t change their spots. We’ll see. At least Piniella has acknowledged a major deficiency on the Cubs and realizes it needs some attention.