Thursday, October 1, 2009

Angels get tough, Cubs get excuses

When I heard that White Sox second baseman Chris Getz would have sports hernia surgery this week, I was half-expecting Lou Piniella to use that as another excuse for his Cubs' shoddy season.

Hey, Lou! We get it! Your team had some boo-boos this year, and that's the only logical way to explain the Cubbies' complete failure to compete.

I mean, how else can anybody explain Wednesday's double-dip defeat to the mighty Pirates?

The fact that Carlos Zambrano and Ted Lilly - $131.5 million worth of starting pitchers - were outperformed by two no-name Pittsburgh kids who are making 800 grand between them ... it must have been because Reed Johnson got hurt three months ago, right?

Here's a list Lou and other excuse-makers might find interesting:

Nick Adenhart ... Kelvim Escobar ... Ervin Santana ... Joe Saunders ... John Lackey ... Vlad Guerrero ... Torii Hunter ... Kevin Jepsen ... Darren Oliver ... Shane Loux.

The first young man died in a car accident after a stellar season debut for the Angels. The next four, all starting pitchers, spent significant time on the DL. Vlad and Torii were on the disabled list simultaneously later in the year; for Vlad, it was his second stint. Relievers Jepsen, Oliver and Loux also were hurt.

Recap: That's four-fifths of the starting rotation, two-thirds of the All-Star outfield and a big chunk of the bullpen hurt ... as well as a tragedy that could have undermined the season.

And yet Mike Scioscia's Angels - whose payroll was lower than that of the Cubs this season - are 30 games over .500 and AL West champs.

Some teams get tough. Others get alibis.

Congratulations to Lou's crew for perfecting the latter.

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