Piniella: 'Too much patience is stupidity'

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cubs-piniella-100601.jpgChicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella, exasperated with his team’s offense, did the ol’ lineup shakeup for Tuesday’s game against the Pirates, inserting Tyler Colvin, Xavier Nady, Jeff Baker and Koyie Hill into the lineup as Marlon Byrd, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto grabbed some pine.

Benching all of those guys in the same game smacks of desperation, but when you’re 24-28 (make that 24-29, now) and your offense just spent the month of May hitting like this guy, well, these are desperate times.

Two months into the season, Piniella is telling the Chicago Tribune that he is finished being patient.

“I think we’ve shown remarkable patience here, not changing things, staying constant, assuming that our hitting is right around the corner,” manager Lou Piniella said before Tuesday’s game. “Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. So what do you do? Patience is a virtue, right? Too much patience is stupidity. I still cling to the fact that our guys are going to hit, but at the same time, it’s already June… a third into the season.”

Alas, Lou’s moves failed to produce a win, as the Cubs fell 3-2 to Pittsburgh on Neil Walker’s first career home run. Nady did his part, going 4-for-4 with a two-run home run, but the others were a combined 1-for-9 with three strikeouts. Lee and Byrd each had a shot at pinch-hitting duties, and each returned to the bench after whiffing.

While the face value interpretation of Piniella’s mini-rant on patience is that he’s tired of waiting for his stars to hit, it could also be viewed as a plea to GM Jim Hendry to do something – anything – to make this team better.

One thing for certain is that Piniella is baffled by how to fix things. ”I mean, the last three games we won, we shut out the opposition. I don’t know. I wish I knew, fellas. I wish I knew.”

Hendry, for his part, didn’t sound like he as in a hurry to do anything. (As told to the Chicago Sun-Times)

”This next couple of weeks is real important,” general manager Jim Hendry said. ”You could look up in two weeks and be two or three back maybe or if you had a bad two weeks, then you’ve got some concern.”

So maybe Hendry is still preaching patience, but Piniella has had all of that he can stomach.

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Marlins, Giants get into heated beanball war

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You may have heard that Giants closer Hunter Strickland broke his hand punching a door in frustration after Monday night’s subpar performance. He’ll miss six to eight weeks as a result. Strickland came in to protect a 4-2 lead but ended up giving up three runs. The tying run was knocked in by Lewis Brinson on a single to right field. Brinson moved to third base on a go-ahead single by Miguel Rojas, which prompted manager Bruce Bochy to take Strickland out of the game.

On his way to the dugout, Strickland started chirping at Brinson. Much like Bryce Harper and Strickland, Brinson and Strickland have a bit of a history. Last Thursday, Brinson handed Strickland a blown save with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Brinson was happy to help his team tie the game, pumping his fast and saying, “Let’s go” at no one in particular. That rubbed Strickland the wrong way. Everything seems to rub Strickland the wrong way.

During Tuesday night’s game, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez threw at Brinson with the first pitch, a 92 MPH fastball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher issued warnings to both benches. Manager Don Mattingly came out to argue, suggesting that his team hadn’t done anything wrong so it was unfair to essentially take the inside part of the plate away from his pitchers. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly could be seen saying, “You’re next” to catcher Buster Posey.

The Giants scored twice in the bottom of the second against Dan Straily to extend their lead to 3-0. Posey came to the plate with a runner on first base and one out. Straily hit Posey with a 91 MPH fastball on the first pitch, prompting ejections of both Straily and Mattingly. Posey was hit on the arm. If the pitch had come in a bit lower and hit Posey on the wrist or hand, Posey might have had to go on the disabled list for a couple months. Or if the pitch had hit Posey a couple of inches higher, in the head, then who knows what would have happened.

Things calmed down from there, thankfully. The two clubs have one more game against each other in San Francisco on Wednesday and that will be the final time they meet this season. If anything further is going to happen — and hopefully, nothing happens — then it will come tomorrow.

Straily will almost certainly be facing a suspension and a fine, as will Mattingly. It’s less clear if Rodriguez and/or Bochy will be reprimanded for throwing at Brinson, even though it was fairly obvious the pitch was intentional. Regardless, the punishments amount to just one missed start for the pitchers, which isn’t nearly enough of a detriment to deter beanball wars.