Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker and general manager Jim Hendry have spent the last two months urging Cubs fans to be patient until they “have their horses back.” Well, Mark Prior came back and got two losses, Derrek Lee came back and helped his team lose 8-1, and Kerry Wood is the kind of horse that should be sent to the glue factory.
This weekend, the Minnesota Twins added to the Cubs’ woeful season, outscoring the North Siders 18-3 in a three-day sweep. The Cubs have now lost 10 of their last 12 games.
The return of Derrek Lee to the lineup certainly would have helped the Cubs if he had bothered to learn how to pitch during his nine-week rehab, but Lee scoffed at the idea early on. Thanks to Lee’s stubbornness, Cubs pitchers were left to fend for themselves. Over the weekend, Carlos Marmol walked four and gave up seven runs, Mark Prior surrendered three runs on eight hits, and Sean Marshall gave up five runs, two on solo homers.
Although fans were ecstatic to have him back, Lee’s return seemed to distract the team. Baker eased him back into action by using him as the designated hitter, but his teammates were so confused to see a good athlete in a Cubs uniform, they committed three errors in Sunday’s game.
“We just kept looking at him in the dugout,” said Todd Walker, who decided not to go after a ground ball between first and second base after he noticed that Phil Nevin was also not trying to glove it. “He’s so sexy. Unfortunately, I’ll need to stop whining about my batting average with him back in the lineup.”
Like Walker, Dusty Baker was also worried about letting go of the familiar “Derrek Lee is injured”-excuse. In fact, with Wood, Prior and Lee all coming back in the month of June, he and Hendry were so desperate for excuses that a closed-door meeting was held. All the dynamic duo could come up with was making sure everyone knows Scott Williamson is on the disabled list and Angel Pagan is rehabbing. The meeting took 37 minutes and concluded with a game of Boggle.
Number of the weekend: 19
Games the Cubs managed to win without Derrek Lee. That means of the 60 games he missed, they lost 41 times.