Kap's Corner

Put This One Squarely on Lou Piniella

Don't blame Cubs closer Kevin Gregg for tonight's brutal loss.  Instead blame Cubs manager Lou Piniella who should never have used him in the 9th inning of a 1-0 game. How many times must someone watch the same movie over and over and see the same ending before they finally wake up and realize that the ending will not change?

Tonight, Kevin Gregg gave up a game tying double with two outs in the 9th that let the Padres tie the game and then after an intentional walk he gave up his 12th home run of the season, blew his 6th save of the season, and cost the Cubs another game in the standings to the St. Louis Cardinals who won in Los Angeles.

Sure, the offense again failed in the clutch time and time again and scored only 1 run against a bad San Diego team. However, they had the lead going into the bottom of the 9th and again the Cubs put a guy on the mound who gives up more home runs than any other reliever in baseball. In a 1-0 game those HR's are fatal and again tonight Kevin Gregg gave one up.

Gregg is not a good closer, he never has been, and he never will be. Why Lou Piniella keeps running him out there is unexplainable and until he decides to make a change the Cubs have no chance of contending. Do you really believe that Kevin Gregg can get the job done with the game on the line against the elite teams in the National League?  I don't.  So why keep running him out there with the season on the line?

Tonight's loss is a tough one and many fans will point their anger at Kevin Gregg for not getting the job done yet again. Don't blame him. He is trying as hard as he can. He just isn't very good. Blame the manager who keeps trying to fit a round peg into a square hole by having Gregg as his closer. This loss is on you Lou and every time Gregg blows a game the rest of the way will also be on you. You know exactly what Gregg is all about as a closer and you refuse to make a change. This loss is on you, Lou Piniella.

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26 Comments

*dan bradley said:

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Hey where did all those Kevin Gregg lovers go? You still here??

I'd blame Lou, sure. But I'd also blame Hendry for blowing up a perfectly serviceable bullpen before this season. We all understand why Wood went off to seek a contract, but why get rid of Wuertz? Why did they hate Scott Eyre so much that they let him to to Philly where he promptly won a ring?? And why trade Marquiz for an arm you "don't trust"?

Can anyone say what they thought they were doing?

I'll say it again - make Harden the closer. He locates his fastball, effectively uses a changeup, and has a history of injuries when overused. Give it a shot.

Hardrock said:

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Heh Cap.....I heard you on WGN radio just before the game...did this physically make you sick or what? I think we all knew too much on what may happen. Another blown save. I totally think this one is on Lou Pinella. It's like the "Go with what we have syndrome." Make a change Lou! I am so sick and tired of Cubs management piecing a team together that "Will Win It KNOW." Give me a break...What about team chemistry...the most overlooked aspect, as they actually dismantled a winner. I am so sick of Lou...I feel so cheated by him. Does anybody remember the last seven games of last season??? Everybody says the Cubs choked in the playoffs......wrong....they started to trip up with losing four of the last seven games....why? because dear old Lou wanted to rest the regulars... for what? Oh yeah..they had such rest and momentum going into the playoffs losing four of seven to end the season...Now back to this year! I am sorry, but this bullpen is a flat out Joke! In less there is a miracle, I believe that familiar phrase..."Let's wait til next year is appropriate." But please Tribune Company...please get away from my team. Somehow I believe the Tribune Company wants this team to be competitive, but not to win it all..heh the mystique means a more profitable sale!

IrishYeti said:

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I'm going to arbitrarily place this one on you

MJG said:

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Leave a comment...

JobbaJibba said:

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Blame it on Lou for Gregg not being able to get 3 measly F'n outs?! Are you kidding me? Gregg is paid to close. Bullcrap Kap, this is placed on Gregg. 50% of it at least.

The other 50% is on the offense (namely Soto & Fontenot & Miles) for sucking ass.

VagrantRenaissance said:

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You're missing the point - it doesn't matter if Gregg is "paid to close". His performance (or lack of it) is what matters in these situations, and has been proven consecutively to be inadequate. Lou knows the stats as well as anyone. Before this outing Gregg still had the most given HR's of any NL reliever. Its not like he was a fresh callup of unknown viability, nor was he someone with solid outings this season. He has a track record of failure. This is not the guy you put in to close a 1-0 game when you're 5 games out of 1st place late in the season, and its the manager's job to know this.

IvyChatChuck said:

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Lou Piniella's fault? Who got Gregg for Lou? Has Gregg been a problem for a while? Oh, he has? Hmmm... Whose job is it to find better players when the current ones aren't working out?

And who was the goof that gave Aaron Miles a two year deal when other teams were offering him nothing?

drankin said:

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Right on, Kap! Just like when Pinella said Soriano could only bat leadoff. He is stubborn beyond reason. I can't see La Russa sacrificing wins to pigheadedness.

Dennis said:

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Geez...Give me a bat, I know I can hit Gregg. I would put Dempster back in the pen. Afterall, he was one of the top NL closers just two years ago. Zambrano, Lilly, Harden, G-Man/Marshall and Wells could be the starting 5. Marmol, Guzman can set-up Dempster. Maybe Soriano, Bradley, Gross and Hendry can get a table for four in the Dining Room and watch the games from there. Speaking of Hendry, he has made some of the weakest moves I've ever seen a GM make. And this isn't the first time. Just look through the past seasons. True, they did win 2 Division titles in a row but without much competetion. He has wasted tons of cash. Just the money he has paid to Bradley, Soriano, Fukodome, Zambrano and Gregg, you can put an entire team on the field. Then he has this "Catholic" thing going with Jeff S and A. Heileman (two Norte Dame boys). They should be sent to their rooms with rosary in hand

IrishYeti said:

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You LOLed through your hole post didn't you?

MJG said:

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Does it really matter whose fault it is? The problem needs to be fixed. In the short term Dempster certainly could move back to the closer role, but do you want to be paying your closer the kind of money that he will be making for the next 3 years? I would move Harden to closer. He really only has 2 pitches, which is all a closer needs. If it works out, you sign him next season. If not you let him go. For the long-term, the new owner needs to clean house from the top down by replacing Hendry, Lou and Rothchild.

tom said:

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Everybody always says that you can't pay a closer that kind of money....Why? You have to pay him anyway,so you might as well put a player where he will do some good.Only Dempster was not a good closer.They also say you can't bench a player when he is making that kind of money.Again Why?You have to pay him anyway,Put someone in who is doing the job.Salaries should not dictate who plays and where someone plays because you have to pay them anyway.Whoever is doing the job should play.They need a manager with a backbone

Aisle424 said:

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Lou keeps "running him out there" because until the Florida series, he was the most dependable reliever on the team. Marmol can't get through an inning without letting guys on without taking their bats off their shoulders. Guzman was hurt. Heilman is awful. Anybody else you'd care to hand the ball to in the 9th. Too bad Cotts is hurt. He was awesome.

Gregg came in and got multi-inning saves when no one else could do anything right out there. He got out of other people's messes. That was LESS THAN 3 WEEKS AGO. You want to run a team as a reactionary idiot, yanking guys out of their roles for a few bad games, go ahead. I'll take the guy who has won the World Series before and has forgotten more about baseball than ever appears in your blog.

Saying Gregg was the best in the Cubs bullpen is like saying Janet Jackson is the most normal kid star from the cast of Diff'rent Strokes, but it doesn't change the fact that it was true until recently. You want to blame someone for that, go talk to Jim Hendry.

Gregg is clearly broken now and Lou is making a change. Anything prior to now would have been acting desperate when there was no need. Now they truly are desperate so they will act accordingly and either hand the ball to Nuke Marmol or the latest golden arm out of the Cubs system that can't stay healthy for longer than it takes to read this comment. Those are two fantastic choices for a team that will fail to win the World Series for the 101st year in a row. Hard to imagine why Lou was reluctant to make the move.

*dan bradley said:

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Cotts was awesome?? Are you smoking crack?! Look at his career stats: he's had one good year - 2005 - and the ENTIRE REST OF THE TIME he's been in the majors, he's been just awful.

And i've never seen Gregg get out of anybody's "mess." All I've seen him do this year is give up HR's. What is it now, 12? So no, the Florida series was not the start. He's been bad all year.

Aisle424 said:

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Clearly you need to take Sarcasm 101 - of course Cotts blew. He was the Aaron Miles of pitching.

Gregg had an ERA in June of 2.77 and in July it was 1.93. His WHIP was less than 1 over those two months. That is not someone who has been bad all year.

You and Kap have just hated him all year but don't know how to actually look anything up. I don;t care that you don't, but Kap is paid to know what the hell he is talking about.

liss44 said:

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Why put all the blame on Lou, Hendry is the one who brings the players in, Lou has to use them. From the beginning of the season this has not been a play off team

*dan bradley said:

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By the way, I love Kap, but he's gotta stop saying that he answers all his emails. I've sent him 3-4 concerning Harden and the closers role and asking why the bullpen was dismantled and he has yet to respond to one of them.

*dan bradley said:

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lol.. i take that back. :-)

Jarrett said:

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Kap hasn't responded to an email of mine in several months. I been sending it to dlkaplan@tribune.com

Jarrett said:

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Kap hasn't responded to an email of mine in several months. I been sending it to dlkaplan@tribune.com

jack74 said:

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Hi Kap,

Yes, I believe you are correct about yesterday's fiasco being the problem of Lou Piniella. Kevin Gregg last night was a total abomination, and it truthfully was not his fault. He was pitching with the abilities God gave him. He does not need to be in the closer's role. I think it would be better to have him in middle relief, preferably with the Cubs either leading 17-2 (like the Pittsburgh game a few days ago, or losing by a similarly large margin).

As far as Lou goes, I don't really think he's totally crazy enough to allow Kevin Gregg to continue to pitch in his present role. He simply is disinterested in his job as the Cubs' manager, and should be denied his club option on his contract for 2010. I think that maybe Bob Brenly might be a good replacement for Sweet Lou!

jack74 said:

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Hi Kap,

Yep, I think your're right about Lou Piniella. I don't think he's dumb or a big dope - he's just disinterested in the performance of the Cubs. As such, he should be denied his club option on his contract for 2010. I think Bob Brenly would be a good replacement!

As far as Kevin Gregg goes, I'd only throw him out there if the Cubs had a big lead or were trailing big. No other reason to use him otherwise!

hjb4971 said:

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Sorry Dave, I disagree.

I blame Jim Hendry and the Cubs management to whom he reports. This team won I believe 93 games last year and simply needed a left hand-hitting outfielder with power and a couple relief pitchers. Instead Hendry made HORRIBLE mistakes letting people go, and brought in poor replacements....but that's old news that we've re-hashed too many times already.

What I really NOW blame Jim and his management for is continuing to try to sell the fans and media the tired story of "we can't make any deals to strengthen this team because of the team sale." Sounds like the same excuses SanDiego, Cleveland,and Pittsburgh management shovels to their fans. The Cardinals and Phillies will win their divisions because they made deals to strengthen their team DURING THE SEASON. Add guys like Holliday, DeRosa, Lee, Sanchez, or Peavey to the Cubs and you have a winning team. In fact, you STILL could win by adding a power hitting outfielder and a closer like Heath Bell to this team. You're right Gregg is a lousy closer and the Cubs should have done something about it long ago, but shuffling in Guzman or Marmol is not the answer either, acquiring a real closer is. Same for right field and second base, and mabe catcher. Even a better back-up like Pudge could help Soto and the Cubs, and he was traded yesterday, of course we SHOULD have acquired him several years ago when he begged to come to Chicago, but again that is spilled milk no longer worthy of discussion...the issue is what can management do NOW to improive this team, or are they content to finish second or third in our division? If they are content to act like SanDiego or Pittsburgh managers, maybe the fans should act like the fans in those cities and stay home. The probem is we Cub fans are loyal and too darn tolerant. We need to tell the Cubs management we are no longer accepting of their tired excuses, we want actions!


ernie broglio said:

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Couldn't agree more. Same can be said about trotting out Soriano nearly every game.I say play whoever is producing NOW,not somebody who has been an automatic out(usually a K)except for about 4 weeks this entire season.

Carey said:

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This game.....Lou did not utilized his players......Sam Fuld is primarly used for defensive replacement when not in starting lineup......in this game,he was used as a pinch hitter earlier in the game....in the ninth inning,that game tying double was dropped in between fox and fukudome......cubs had always been skeptical of fox's defense........when fuld pinch hit, the game was scoreless.....then cubs finaly took the lead 1-0 going into 9th inning......with the game like this, gotta have your best defense on the field along with the closer.......fuld would ve caught that game tying double.....by using fuld earlier in the game is like using mariano riveria in the 5th inning ....pinella keeps making same mistake over and over....speaking of gregg, last year he lead the league in blown saves and he's doing this againg this year....the only reason the cubs were able sign him was that no othr teams wanted him just like alfonso,bradley,miles...they always get washed up players or cast-offs...they will never get free agents in their prime cuz they wont wanna play for the cubs

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