Cubs good enough to turn things around
Q. Are the Cubs toast?
A. No. This team has gone through so many ups and downs through the entire season. Remember, in April and May they lost more games than any team in baseball and found a way to bounce back. You don't want to be down 0-2 in a short series, but it is what it is. This team is good enough to come back from that.
Q. Is there a simple way to fix the situation?
A. Yes. The (No.) 3, 4 and 5 hitters need to start producing.
Q. Are the Cubs pressing already?
A. No. They are trying to play like they did at the end of the regular season. They had a really good run the last three weeks, hitting the ball out of the park and scoring a lot of runs. But they have a difficult time playing in close games manufacturing runs, and it is showing up in the postseason. And on top of that, Ted Lilly picked the most inopportune time to have his poorest start of the season.
Q. Were you surprised by the frustration shown by Lilly after the home run he gave up to Chris Young in the second inning?
A. Yes. It is always easy when it is over to question things like that, but from my standpoint, Lilly handled that at-bat wrong. Young is a notorious fastball hitter. There were men on first and second, you have a one-ball, two-strike count, and he ran the count full. One pitch was up, one was in the dirt, and he gets that deep with breaking balls, you might as well go with a breaking ball on 3-2 with a left-hander in Stephen Drew on deck.
That was not the time to challenge a fastball hitter with a fastball -- when there is a left-hander coming up. The chances of him getting out Drew were much better than getting out Young, especially with a 3-2 fastball.
Q. Did Lou Piniella miss any opportunities to apply managerial strategy?
A. No. The bottom line is, if your big guys aren't hitting and driving in runs, there is nothing you can do. Plus, Piniella couldn't do anything about that triple by Eric Byrnes that went off the wall. That ball has got to be caught by Alfonso Soriano. It was not that difficult a play. It is not like it was a 12-foot wall. He had the time to get there. He got there and then overjumped the ball. The ball landed lower than where Soriano thought it was going to be. If you are up to the wall, and the ball hits the wall, you have to make the catch.
Q. What is to be expected from Game 3?
A. Cubs pitcher Rich Hill is going to have to pitch the game of his life. The Diamondbacks have to be feeling pretty good about themselves. There is no pressure on them going back to Wrigley.