Cubs: Was Mark Prior overextended in 2003 NLCS?

Cubs: Was Mark Prior overextended in 2003 NLCS?
October 15, 2013, 10:15 pm
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CSN Staff

In Game 2 of the 2003 NLCS, the Cubs raced out to a 9-0 lead over the Marlins. Mark Prior was dealing, but his pitch count started to the rise.

As the Cubs continued to pour on the runs, manager Dusty Baker trotted out Prior despite his pitch total nearing the triple-digit mark.

Prior would go on to throw 116 pitches as the Cubs defeated the Marlins, 12-3.

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But did Baker's decision hurt the Cubs' chances in the future?

"Dusty was hired to manage the team for the present day," Prior said during filming for the documentary "5 Outs..." on CSN Chicago. "He's not hired to manage teams for three to four or seven years down the line. So if he had to run me out there, I wasn't coming out of games.

"I didn't ask to come out of games, I didn't want to come out of games. You have to live in the present and at that time we had a chance to win ... we had a chance to go to the World Series. If I stopped playing after that, it would have been a great run. You do what you have to do to win ball games."

["5 Outs...": Complete coverage

Opinions differ on the situation. Steve Stone believes that Baker overextending Prior played a role in the fall of the 2003 Cubs. CSN Chicago's David Kaplan understands that Baker was trying to get the Cubs to a World Series, but can't fathom why Prior was in the game with Chicago holding a 9-0 lead. 

Baker has dealt with criticism throughout his managerial career. But he brought up a good point during the filming. What if this were a "Strasburg situation?" Would people in Chicago be fine with him getting shut down with the team having a chance to go to the World Series?

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"I was thinking I don't know what I would have done if it would have been later in life or later in my career or if it would have been a "Strasburg situation," Baker said. "Could the city have taken or the team or any of us taken sitting him out if we had a chance to get to the World Series."

Watch the video above for complete reaction to Prior getting overextended in the 2003 NLCS.