By Adam Harris-
(CBS) Mike Quade is a nice guy, a good talker, and is very personable. Frankly, I like him, but not as an MLB manager.
Many times this year he has performed incorrect on-the-field moves, whether it be with how he handles the pitching staff, who he pinch runs or uses as a defensive replacement, or how he manages the bullpen.
Last night’s loss against the Phillies was his fault and is a great example of how he mismanages in-game pitching decisions. The Cubs were up 2-0 heading into the 7th inning, and while I realize Matt Garza was cruising, I noticed he was approaching 100 pitches on a muggy, humid night in Wrigley where temps were 90-plus.
I was at the game and looked down the left field line to see that no pitcher was warming up to potentially relieve Garza if he got into trouble that inning. That is wrong, as someone should have been warming up from the very start of the inning, just in case Garza showed signs of weakness.
Some will say that showing confidence in your starting pitcher is a reason to not get anyone up in the pen in that situation. I think it is more important to put your team in the best position to win, and Quade didn’t do that.
Before the inning started, I would have told Garza that if he allowed one base runner I would pull him from the game. One base runner brings the tying run to the plate, remember, and with a tired starter out there, one mistake could cost the Cubs the lead.
Garza proceeded to get the first two batters out, but then gave up back-to-back singles to Domonic Brown and Carlos Ruiz. That is when Quade finally got Kerry Wood and Sean Marshall up in the pen.
That is too late. At this point Garza has to get the next guy out because the relievers are not warm.
Luckily, Garza induced a fly out to center field by Ross Gload ending the inning.
I thought, “Whew…that was close. Now lets see a reliever come in and start the eighth…right?”
No, that is not what happened. Quade trotted Matt Garza out to the mound to start the eighth inning with over 110 pitches thrown. Jimmy Rollins got a base hit to lead off the inning. That is finally when Matt Garza left the ball game and Sean Marshall came in.
Too late. Marshall proceeded to give up back to back hits, tying the game. Then in the ninth, he gave up two more runs and the Cubs lost 4-2.
This is simply bad baseball strategy. After Quade messed up the seventh, and got away with Garza squeaking by, he should have counted his blessings and let Sean Marshall start the eighth inning.
Relievers feel more comfortable entering the game as the first pitcher of an inning because they do not have anyone on base. I am not saying that the Cubs would have won if Garza didn’t face Rollins; I am saying that everything would have been different.
Both of these moves in yesterday’s game are a common occurrence this season with Quade. He left Randy Wells in too long a couple weeks ago against the White Sox, who ended up beating the Cubs in Wrigley.
These are baseball-101 moves that the Chicago Cubs’ manager doesn’t execute. It is frustrating to see him as an MLB manager, and I feel that the fans give him a pass because of the good job he did closing out last season and because the Cubs are not good this year. There appears to be apathy toward the situation.
Quade has not handled off-the-field matters very well either. He treated the Carlos Silva spring training issue like it was no big deal, and when Carlos Zambrano publicly threw his teammate Carlos Marmol under the bus, Quade said he would stay out of it.
Quade needs to demand more respect from his players, and his team. This is not Iowa anymore.
If this is a team “building” toward a future and a championship, then these little decisions by the manager mean an awful lot. I do not think Mike Quade should be the manager next year. This team must move forward and grow. The growth needed is beyond his ability to manage.