Piniella congratulatory, laments offense
Cubs skipper has seen team score 12 runs in six playoff games
LOS ANGELES -- Lou Piniella does not like being in the role of good loser two years in a row.
For the second straight postseason, Piniella's Cubs were swept in the National League Division Series. In 2007, it was the Arizona Diamondbacks who ousted Chicago with a three-game sweep. This year, the Los Angeles Dodgers eliminated the Cubs, taking the best-of-five series with a 3-1 win on Saturday.
"It makes me play the part of a congratulater," Piniella said. "Congratulate the Dodgers for their success and wish them well. I don't know what it does to our season. We were expecting more. We thought that we would go further into this postseason."
He also didn't think the offense would stall the way it did.
"You score three, two and one in three games," he said of the Cubs' totals in this NLDS. "You do that during the season and you're 0-3 the same way you do in the postseason. Look, I've seen enough in six games. All I know is you have to score more runs than we do to win and if you don't, you can pitch well, you can play well, you can talk about anything you want but the bottom line is, unless you get shutouts, you're going to lose."
In Piniella's six postseason games with the Cubs, they've totaled 12 runs. That's an average of two runs a game, and it doesn't get the job done.
"You've got to score some runs and this team here in postseason, for whatever reason, I haven't seen it," he said.
In 2007, the Cubs batted .194 against the Diamondbacks. This year, they hit .240, but Alfonso Soriano went 1-for-14 and Aramis Ramirez finished with zero RBIs. Ramirez now is 2-for-23 in the last two postseasons.
|Cubs manager Lou Piniella has a 23-27 career postseason record over the last 18 seasons.|
|1990||Reds||91-71||4-2||Won NLCS vs. PIT|
|1990||Reds||91-71||4-0||Won WS vs. OAK|
|1995||Mariners||79-66||3-2||Won ALDS vs. NYY|
|1995||Mariners||79-66||2-4||Lost ALCS vs. CLE|
|1997||Mariners||90-72||1-3||Lost ALDS vs. BAL|
|2000||Mariners||91-71||3-0||Won ALDS vs. CWS|
|2000||Mariners||91-71||2-4||Lost ALCS vs. NYY|
|2001||Mariners||116-46||3-2||Won ALDS vs. CLE|
|2001||Mariners||116-46||1-4||Lost ALCS vs. NYY|
|2007||Cubs||85-77||0-3||Lost NLDS vs. ARI|
|2008||Cubs||97-64||0-3||Lost NLDS vs. LAD|
"It's not shocking," Piniella said. "Nothing is shocking. I've said once you get into the postseason, all eight teams start equal and they all have chances. I was concerned about our offense coming into this thing, I'll be honest with you. And basically my concerns were realized. What can I say?
"We gave it effort, we played as hard as we could. At home we were a little sloppy, but today we played a [darn] good baseball game. We just didn't take advantage of opportunities and we didn't create many opportunities, so give the Dodgers credit.
"But let me tell you this, you can play postseason between now and another 100 years and if you score six runs in a three-game series it's going to be another 100 years before you win here. So we've got to score more runs. That's it. Period."
Piniella, 65, wasn't frustrated. It's just the facts. And losing this quickly in the postseason definitely spoils a season in which the Cubs boasted the best record in the National League, winning 97 games.
"I congratulated the team on a fine season, I thanked them for their hard work and their preparation and I told them to enjoy their families this winter," Piniella said of his farewell speech to the team.
"I'm excited [about next year], but I want to do more than play the part of the good loser. I really do. I want to do more than play the part of congratulating the other team in the first round of the playoffs."
Cubs fans who had tickets to Game 5 on Tuesday or had looked ahead and made party plans for a World Series in Wrigleyville will have to wait.
"My players, they tried their butts off and I salute them for that," Piniella said. "But at the same time, if you want to win a World Series and you want to go further in the postseason, you've got to score runs, and the truth of the matter is, in the two playoffs we've been to, we've scored a total of 12 runs. That ain't gonna get it done."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.