Lou Piniella proved to be the anti-Dusty following the team’s feeble opening day performance, calling out his players, specifically former staff ace Carlos Zambrano, who had to have his diaper changed after throwing more temper tantrums than strikes Monday.
“For a team that loses 90 games every year, these guys have been coddled for too long,” said Piniella. “They need to have the Dusty shaken out of them, and it’s my job to do it.”
Piniella used tough love again Wednesday night during a ninth inning visit to the mound, not-so-kindly reminding closer Ryan Dempster to throw the little white ball over the big white plate. Dempster responded by getting the last two Reds batters on fly outs, securing the Cubs 4-1 victory to even their record at 1-1.
“Last year, I’d walk the bases loaded and Dusty would come out to the mound singing ‘Kumbayah,” said Dempster. “Lou likes to handle things differently.”
Potential staff ace Ted Lilly, who was signed to a lucrative off-season deal, made general manager Jim Hendry look like a genius for the first time in years. Lilly struck out nine over seven strong innings to earn the win. Another Hendry off-season addition, Mark DeRosa, added two hits including a two-run single in the eighth to help put the game on ice.
“You think Lilly and DeRosa are good,” said a boastful Hendry. “Wait until you see us ride the right arm of Jason Marquis all the way to the pennant.”
Number of the game: 4
Hits by Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez in his first two games this season, which seems like it doubles his April hit total from a year ago.