Since the Cubs finished their 2008 campaign -- a season comprising 97 wins, a division title, and a sudden, ugly first-round playoff departure -- the typically warbly Lou Piniella has been basically silent. There has been little to help us parse what he thinks of the Cubs' end, whether he feels responsible, if he should have handled pitchers differently, that sort of thing. Piniella has probably been somewhere in Florida, forgetting about baseball, and really, good for him. We all need a break from the thing sometimes.
Yesterday broke that vacation, at least for Lou. After winning the 2008 National League Manager of the Year -- the sort of award, given that it doesn't reside next to a World Series trophy, most Cubs fans might scoff at -- Piniella had to address the media, if only briefly. The result? We finally get to hear how Lou really feels behind all that old-man stubble:
"It felt like we got run over by a semi truck," he said. Piniella pointed to the lack of "throwing strikes early" in Game 1, a defensive meltdown by the infield in Game 2, and a lack of hitting throughout the series.
“We’ve got no excuses. Look, we played the Dodgers, a total of 10 times during the course of the season, and we just didn’t hit their pitching. We didn’t hit their pitching during the season, and we didn’t hit their pitching in postseason. An amazing statistic -- we played their team all year and never faced one pitch from a lefthanded pitcher. They stayed right-handed with us the whole time."
Not for the first time, Piniella openly declares his hope that the Cubs get more "left-handed." Earlier, he says the Cubs are looking for a power-hitting right-fielder. OK, we know. The Cubs aren't going to sign any free agents. But there's this guy named Adam Dunn, and he really likes hitting in Wrigley ... Fine. I'll stop.
Hey, a guy can hope, right?