CHICAGO -- The fallout from the Chicago Cubs' disappointing
finish started Monday.
Third-base coach Wendell Kim, often criticized for being too
aggressive in sending runners home, won't be back next year. Also,
Gene Clines is replacing Gary Matthews as hitting coach, with
Matthews taking Clines' old spot at first base.
Matthews also will be responsible for outfield instruction and
"It was very difficult," manager Dusty Baker said. "You have
to make tough decisions sometimes. It was a tough decision with
Wendell and an equally tough decision with Gary Matthews."
After taking a 1½-game lead in the NL wild-card race, the Cubs
lost seven of their last nine and missed the playoffs. Part of the
collapse was due to timely hitting -- or the lack of it.
The Cubs scored most of their runs on homers, and often
struggled to manufacture runs in close games. They were 19-30 in
one-run games, including 0-for-5 down the stretch. Many of their
big hitters struggled late, too, with leadoff hitter Corey
Patterson batting just .190 in the last month of the season.
Sammy Sosa batted .253 for the year -- his lowest average since
1997 -- and failed to reach 100 RBI for the first time in 10
"(Clines and Matthews) are very similar. Sometimes you need a
different voice," Baker said of the switch. "A lot of times guys
can say the same things, but say them different ways."
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild, bench coach Dick Pole and
bullpen coach Juan Lopez will keep their same jobs for the 2005
seasons. Sonny Jackson also will return as Baker's special
General manager Jim Hendry said Triple-A manager Mike Quade
would be considered for the third-base coach's job, and he'll look
at outside candidates, as well.