Where was the urgency from the Cubs’ hitters in the top of the ninth?
The all-time saves leader, Trevor Hoffman, comes in throwing 85-mph meatballs and the Cubs stand in the box with bat on shoulder.
Chicago leads the NL with a (.394 avg.) when swinging at the first pitch in an at-bat. And, Hoffman is a guy you want to attack early in the count!
Yet, Miles and Hoffpauir go down looking. Then, Milton reaches for a pitch and grounds out weakly to first.
You’re down one run against a very hittable pitcher…find a strike and swing the bat!
Know the situation — and for heaven’s sake, don’t blame the home plate umpire for punching you out looking.
Nonetheless, we’re about to find out what kind of character the Cubs have on this club.
Meet Mr. Gathright
You can forget about Chicago signing Raul Ibanez, he’s now signed on with Philly. However, there’s no reason not to be excited about Joey Gathright…seriously!
He’s 27-years old, has excellent speed (78 stolen bases in 105 attempts in his career), is versatile in the outfield and, is a left-handed bat with 400+ games of MLB experience under his belt.
Obviously, Gathright is not is the power hitting lefty (1-career HR) Lou is coveting, but there’s definitely a place for this guy on Chicago’s roster.
After watching Lou manage for two seasons we understand the skipper’s pleasure in making double switches and inserting pinch runners, both of which make Gathright an ideal fit off the bench.
Not to mention, Gathright is above average defensively in center field — something the Cubs lack.
Still, this signing is all about Felix Pie. He’s out of minor league options and still struggling to hit MLB pitching.
In turn, Pie’s trade stock has dropped considerably leaving Jim Hendry stuck with the under-achieving prospect.
With Gathright in the mix we’re only left to believe Pie is on the move. Where he goes, who knows?
Of course, it’s looking better each day that Hendry lands free-agent slugger Milton Bradley.
Yes, Bradley is an ideal fit for the Cubs lineup statistically, but he’s also far more expensive than Gathright’s 1-year $800,000 contract.
And let’s not forget, when you sign Milton you’re also signing the loads of baggage that’s trailed him from Cleveland, L.A., Oakland, San Diego, and Texas.
In my mind, Bradley isn’t a guy you want on a championship type roster like the Cubs. And clearly, there’s a reason he’s played for five different clubs in the past six seasons. Basically, the guy is nuts between the ears.
So yeah, get excited about Joey Gathright! Even though he’s not the perfect fit, he’s still good enough.