Abbatacola: Cubs Win; Quade Makes Risky Move

By Matt Abbatacola

CHICAGO (WSCR) — On a 45 degree night at first pitch with a comfortable seven-run lead, Mike Quade sent Carlos Zambrano to the plate to pinch-hit for Ryan Dempster with the bases loaded.

It ended up working in Quade’s favor as Zambrano delivered a single to left-center scoring Tony Campana and Lou Montanez. When Zambrano was announced as the pinch-hitter, the crowd cheered the loudest it had all night in the Cubs 11-1 rout of the Mets.

Earlier in the day, Matt Garza was placed on the 15-day DL with a bone contusion in his right elbow. The Cubs rotation had already been down two starters with injuries to Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner. Wells makes his return Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

When Zambrano stepped to the plate, Quade had four position players on the bench. At the time, Zambrano and Dempster were the only two healthy starting pitchers left from the opening day rotation. Did Quade have any hesitation in using Big Z?

“Not really,” Quade continued, “like to let Z hit when he wants”.

I immediately questioned the decision as I saw Zambrano bounce out of the dugout.

“I didn’t think twice about it,” said his manager.

The Cubs opened things up in the game in the second inning as they sent 10 men to the plate scoring five times. Only one run was earned. They had another big inning in the seventh as they sent nine batters to the plate scoring four more runs to add to their already seven-run lead.

Montanez was brought up from Iowa to take Garza’s spot on the roster. He, like other Iowa players this year, paid immediate dividends. The 29 year-old outfielder doubled in his first at-bat scoring Aramis Ramirez. He finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Dempster tossed a season-high tying 7 innings of one-run, seven-hit ball. He is now 3-4 on the year and lowered his ERA to 6.29.

In Wednesday’s game, Casey Coleman (2-3 6.03) opposes Dillon Gee (3-0 3.44)

More from Matt Abbatacola
  • Ernesto Macias

    Your right Matt…It was an unnecessary risk sending Zambrano up there to pinch-hit…

    • the hole in Adolfo Soriano's gold glove

      I agree. What’s really surprising is that he did this only two days after Marlon Byrd got his face rearranged. I’m sick of seeing those two guys at the end of the rotation … let’s get our regular rotation guys healthy so they can go back to the minors and develop, instead of killing us up here.

  • Murphs Upper-Lip

    Cubs were up 8-1 when Z pinch hit. The meatball in me loved seeing him come to the plate, and MAYBE it’s not a bad idea if it means something… but with the game well in hand just another move by Q that makes me really question his managing. Matty, you’ve been pretty vocal towards some of Q’s decisions, keep up the good work — rare to have a member of the media that follows a team (albeit half the games) let his opinion be known when questioning the manager as strongly as you have thus far. Kudos.

  • Cub Fan

    Somebody tell Mike Q that the guys he had in the 8th and 9th inngs are the keys to wining the rest of the year,speed and good hitting does it.Sit Soriano he can`t hustle and won`t go to the vines for a catch.

  • Dan

    It was a move that is made by a minor league manager. You don’t need to have Z bat to wow the fans and thank them for coming out so to speak. Extremely irresponsible and if Z got hurt, would have been a fire-able offense.

  • chris is hinsdale

    99% of the time, batting alone, doesn’t injure anyone. He didn’t get injured, he got a hit and knocked in a few runs… he’s a pro baseball player, he likes to hit, and he can swing. So I don’t see what the big deal is.

    • Murphs Upper-Lip

      Now you ARE hinsdale??? Impressive.

      • the hole in Adolfo Soriano's gold glove

        he covers more ground than sam fuld!!!

  • Joe H.

    i get what you’re saying, chris but to abbatacola’s point, all it takes is 1 pitch similar to the one marlon byrd got over the weekend and suddenly the best pitcher the cubs have had all season is out…along with all the other pitching injuries, that would be disastrous. it was a risky move, regardless of how small the chance of him getting hurt was…

    • Murphs Upper-Lip

      He got hurt swinging a bat last year, no?

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