Give credit where it is due....and blame where it is due
OK, I don't shy away from any of my previous criticisms of Hendry and Baker, especially Hendry. Probably the worst part of the Prior injury (I was at the game Friday, it was horrific), is that it takes the heat off Hendry and reinforces the meme of, "the guy is it snakebit, whaddya gonna do with those injuries." As you can see earlier in this blog, I made a pretty clear case for, a) only an idiot would expect Prior, Wood and Nomar to stay healthy, so even though Prior's injury was "freak" it was still not entirely unexpected and b) therefore you only let Clement go if you have a bullpen to allow Dempster to take Clement's role in the rotation, and c) which you certainly don't unless i) you're the only guy in the world to think Borowski will come back to form, ii) you're the only guy in Chicago who thinks Hawkins can actually close after last year and iii) you have faith in Chad Fox going into this year with two elbow reconstructions (oh yeah, I was at the game where he blew out his elbow...). So Hendry has still done a crappy job since midyear 03. (read the blog below...we stayed the same while St. Louis improved and nothing else was done)
Having said that, as much as I don't like Baker, you've got to give the guy credit. Despite all the injuries, despite his getting booed, the Cubs have kept their heads together, and he and his staff have actually perhaps settled on a a couple of reliable setup men in Weurtz, Wellemeyer, and maybe Ohman. We're two games over 500 and 3 runs up as of this blog. We're not that far off the wild card; and even with Prior's injury if Maddux comes back to form we got a decent shot (and the warm weather is here finally) of staying in the hunt. Plus, with Walker back and DuBois getting most of the ABs (though why Hollandsworth was starting tonight is a bit beyond me), and with Aramis heating up, we're playing better.
And I think you've got to give credit to Baker -- for not panicking -- for keeping the crew together -- for getting them to play good ball. I still think he stinks as a manager -- but we're still in it, the Red Sox are coming, and meaningful games in September are on the Horizon.
Links and backup to follow.