“Yes,” if Bob Howry blows another inning of middle-relief by allowing two runs to the Brewers, raising his ERA to 5.35. He’s in the final year of his contract, but Lou has tapped him to be on the postseason roster based on his year-to-date “performance.” Today’s loss came after lights-out performances from the rest of the bullpen (except for Marshall, who walked a runner home). While it doesn’t matter that the Cubs lost, it does matter that Howry continues to disappoint. When Lou gives him the ball in the postseason, expect Cubs’ Nation to collectively hold our breath.
Inexplicably, Sweet Lou has tabbed Howry for the postseason bullpen. “I need Bob to pitch well,” Piniella said. “I had a nice little meeting
and told him we need him to get nice and sharp and pitch well for us.” Howry has a 7-4 record in relief this year, along with a 5.17 ERA. He has improved somewhat in the last 30 days, posting a 3.72 ERA along with 2 wins and an impressive showing against the Mets.
Still, 2008 is shaping up to be Howry’s worst full-season in the big leagues in his 11 year career. He has allowed career highs in home runs and runs. His ERA is almost two full points over his 2006 and 2007 seasons with the Cubs.
Here’s a sampling of headlines from Cubs.com this year:
- “What’s wrong with Howry?”
- “Howry struggling to find consistency.”
- “Howry having his troubles in July.”
- “Howry…[has] rough April for Cubs.”
Yes, he is a veteran ballplayer. Yes, middle relief is a difficult position with little accolades. And yes, if it wasn’t Howry it would be Scott Eyre or Kyle Farnsworth or any number of past middle relievers who’ve been lit up. I don’t know what the answer is, or whether Chad Gaudin, Kevin Hart, Michael Wuertz, or Neal Cotts have proven that they’re better options for the postseason roster. (All of them have posted worse ERAs than Howry in the past 30 days.) Let’s just hope that Lou sees something that Cubs’ fans don’t in Bob Howry, and that Lou’s decision is the right one.
Instead of praising the Central Division champion Chicago Cubs after
taking 2 of the first 3 games of the Mets/Cubs matchup at Shea, Mets’
bloggers are turning their NY vitriol inward–toward their own team.
NJ.com reports that “Mets Fan Club is frustrated at how many times the Cubs handed over chances for the Mets to win”:
has been another major ***** in the armor this season, and that has
been the painful inability to convert runners in scoring position. The
Cubs did all they could to give this win to the Mets — on a night when
the Phillies lost and the Brewers won — and the Mets couldn’t
From Brooklyn Mets Fan:
“…the real culprit was the
Met inability to plate a man from 3rd with ZERO out – inexcusable. And
the real kicker is the Mets failed on this mission TWICE!!!
Why can’t Mets fans praise the tightrope-walking antics of the slumping Bob Howry in the 9th? Or the guts that the Cubs’ pitchers showed when walking runs home? Now that I type that, it does sound like the Cubs were doing everything in their power to lose the game short of pitching the ball underhanded to Carlos Delgado. When Lou brought in Howry to extend the game in the 9th, I thought, “Oh man, here we go again…Lou wants to get this over with ASAP and get home to watch the tape of Bush’s speech in five minute clips on YouTube.” Howry even gave the first batter third base, but the Mets failed to knock him in.
Who’s to blame for the Cubs’ win? I have to agree with the Mets’ bloggers that this was one Lou was willing to concede. Anytime he hands the ball to Howry, there’s a 75% chance that Howry will give up a run or two. If Lou thinks Howry is “hot” now for making it through a couple of innings against the Mets, he better think again–Howry’s year-to-date performance indicates that it really was the Mets who beat themselves last night.