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Monday, August 16

Bullpen struggles

or, Women weaken legs, Kyle

According to the Trib, the last pass of the starting rotation resulted in an 1.60 ERA, which is good enough even for our inconsistent, Sammy-laden offense. But since the bullpen is giving it up at an over-11-runs-per-nine-innings rate, we've lost three of those five starts.

It isn't complicated to figure out, either. Basically, everyone has a slot they like to work in. But, the last slot is vacant since Beetlejuice settled his deal with Joe Borowski (your talent for your soul), and in a very conspicuous example of the Peter Principle, everyone is moved up one notch too far for their own good.

The loss of LaTroy to suspension hurt real bad. He is STILL our best reliever, and losing him just moved everyone up one MORE notch, which is why the eternally skittish Cap'n Tightpants was in the best possible position to fuck us up the ass yesterday.

This is how the parts should fit:

Borowski - Closer
Hawkins - 8th Innings
Farnsworth - 7th Innings
Remlinger - LOOGY
Mercker - LOOGY
Leicester - Young mop-up guy
Rusch - Old mop-up guy
Dumpster - recuperting in Iowa

But now, everyone has had to move up one step. Remlinger and Leicester are now in charge of 7th innings, which due to too much or not enough innings in their arms, neither is truly capable of handling. Farnsworth is in charge of 8th innings, which is too close to the ninth, which causes his sphincter to lose its grip between the inside and the outside.

Even if all of this improbably works out, the tentative, hesitant LaTroy Hawkins is asked to gather up whatever little wit he has to close out the game, and the fact that he has saved more than he has blown only says one thing to me:

He's Due.

Most Cub problems should be this cut-n-dried. You get a closer, you move everyone back down a peg, and thus everyone is working in his comfort zone. Farnsworth has pitched his way down to Hairy mop-up guy, Dumpster should be sent back to Iowa to finish the year stretching his arm for starting, and either Leicester or Rusch could take over 7th innings knowing that Hawkins will be there to eagerly snatch up the baton for the 8th.

Of course, this closer deal will have to be done waiver-style, and the pool just got shallower with the loss of Everyday Eddie Guardado to Tommy John Disease. Jorge Julio did NOT clear waivers, and waivers haven't even been asked for Ugie Urbina, which means that Detroit isn't much interested in dealing him. Meanwhile, it has been hard to follow the progress of Reg'lar Joe, since there is no "Borowski Watch", but I daresay, his recovery is just as vital to the 2004 Chicago Cubs as Mark Prior's.

So Cublike, this problem that is EZ to diagnose, but so hard to cure.