Sutcliffe Telling It Like It Isn't

By Chris Rewers on Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rick Sutcliffe, who was the analyst on ESPN's telecast of Wednesday's Dodgers-Rockies game, far too often goes overboard in trying to suck up to his favorite players and managers.

For the most part, I am able to tolerate Sutcliffe's bullshit (he's The Red Baron, a Cubs Cy Young winner, a cancer survivor), but on Wednesday he went overboard while discussing Ryan Theriot as the former Cubs infielder batted in the fifth inning.

"I remember years ago, Lou Piniella talking about Theriot as 'one of those guys I can win with.' " Sutcliffe said. "What (Piniella) was talking about is, in a situation like this (leading off an inning in a tie game), finding a way to get on base."

Sutcliffe's play-by-play partner, Dave O'Brien pointed out that Theriot's best season was in 2008 when he had 178 hits and 73 walks, but that Ryan's production has fallen off significantly since.

"I think the league adjusted to him and they decided that they weren't going to let him walk anymore," Sutcliffe said. "His patience kind of went against him. I think he's gotta get more aggressive, and he's gonna get a lot more strikes to swing at."

Was Sutcliffe talking about the patience that Theriot exhibited earlier this season when he went more than a month without drawing a walk? The patience Theriot demonstrated while compiling a pathetic on-base percentage of .320 in 96 games with the Cubs this season? And his poor OBP is even less impressive when you consider that he collected just 14 extra-base hits in 412 plate appearances with the Cubs in 2010.

"And you know what?" Sutcliffe continued. "Watching him in batting practice, he can hit the ball out of the park. I think every now and then, like Ryne Sandberg did, he's gotta turn on it."

With that, I changed the channel. I couldn't take it anymore.

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