Now, Prior had not been extremely sharp during most of the evening. There'd been some hard hit balls off of him, to be sure, and he'd wriggled out of trouble in several innings. The Cubs, meanwhile, had managed to squeeze out three runs, including one in the sixth on a passed ball.
Mordecai was leading off the eighth after a double-switch and he hit the ball hard. Fortunately, he didn't get all of it and it came down in an outfielder's glove. Then Pierre laced a double down the left field line and it was pretty obviously time to get someone up in the bullpen and -- indeed! -- Dusty got Kyle Farnsworth up. Luis Castillo hit a foul down the left field line and some low-grade moron decided to reach out and try to catch it and managed to interfere with Moises Alou who was also trying to catch the ball to substantially better purpose. The umpire ruled that the ball was in the stands, so no fan interference. I've seen the replays and I'm not sure, but Alou had a pretty good shot at catching the ball if the dimwit in a Cubs hat had the sense that God gave a slime mold.
Castillo ended up walking on a wild pitch that advanced Pierre to third. It's pretty obvious that Prior is about done. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Farnsworth is warmed up yet, so Prior gets to face Ivan Rodriguez who promptly singles home the Marlins' first run. Cubs lead 3-1. Rodriguez spanked that ball really well. Prior is so done. And for reasons that are becoming progressively less comprehensible, Prior is still pitching.
Cabrera hits a grounder to short which should be good for one out, except for the little detail that Gonzalez skips the actual process of gloving the ball and throwing the batter out. Now, the bases are loaded.
I know Farnsworth is warm by this point, because he has sat back down. But Dusty cleverly leaves Prior in to pitch to Derrek Lee who promptly hits a two-run double and the game is tied. Thanks, Dusty. Thanks loads.
It didn't get any better after that. The Marlins ended up scoring eight runs in the inning and winning 8-3. But here's my problem with all this:
Why do you give Prior the chance to lose the game in this situation?
Prior threw 119 pitches on the night. He hadn't been really sharp. And it looks like 110 pitches would have been a heck of a lot better than the number he actually threw.
I understand that Dusty doesn't trust everyone in his bullpen. But he'd better trust Farnsworth, Remlinger, and Borowski, or the season is going to be over Real Soon Now.