Game 86 – The Farce of July
Cubs 4, Nationals 5
What went right
Solid production from Aramis through Soto in the lineup. All 10 hits, four runs, and four RBIs came from those five starters. Fukudome, Barney, and Castro did absolutely nothing.
Roger Bernadina is a 27-old in his second full MLB season with the Nationals. He singlehandedly would’ve been responsible had the Nationals lost. Several horrible plate appearances, and terrible defensive mistakes – he was the Cubs’ 10th man today! Jim Hendry is very interested in what Bernadina could bring to the Cubs if we’re lucky enough to one day acquire his “talent.”
I hesitate to call it “right” but Coleman wasn’t terrible. Five innings is a bit weak, but you could tell he was spent – and on short notice, it was better than we have come to expect.
What went wrong
Those red hats are terrible. The Memorial Day hats were entirely red, these ones were white on the logo panel (which made them look like little league hats; seriously, just go to the mesh around the side and we can hand out snacks and juice boxes when the game is over). Last year on July 4th we wore those terrible all-white hats. But the red infuriates me more than anything – the Cubs don’t have RED HATS…do any of you own a red Cubs’ shirt or hat? No – why? Because that’s the Cardinals freakin’ color. MLB doesn’t make them wear blue hats do they? Do the Yankees wear red hats? Or the Red Sox navy blue? No, no, no. Of course the color red is a small part of the Cubs’ regular uniform, but there’s a (t)reason that you don’t find much Cubs apparel in red. We had to celebrate the liberty afforded by those who fought for our republic by being screwed into wearing our enemies colors by MLB – thank you Benedict Selig.
Casey Coleman should’ve been removed after 5 innings, but we can’t expect Quade to do any real managing during horse racing season.
Kerry Wood was left for dead on the mound. Why is he throwing 36 pitches? I’m more convinced everyday that most of our struggles this year stem from the fact that Quade is incapable of putting guys in a position to succeed. Wood spent almost 4 weeks on the shelf, pitched for the Cubs for the first time on Friday – 9 pitches, then again on Sunday – 15 pitches, then today – 36 pitches. I bet Mark Prior left him a voicemail after the game laughing manically and exhorting Wood to get out while he still has a right arm attached to his shoulder.
We use a minor leaguer (who can’t hit) to lay down a bunt in the 9th, doesn’t work, winds up being a DP. They use a (reportedly) 36-year-old pitcher to lay down a bunt in the 10th, it works, they win. Livan Hernandez is probably much closer to 40 years old, and yet he has hitting skills not found on the Cubs’ bench.
Home plate umpire Mike Winters was all over the place with his strike zone. But he might’ve been taking cues from Mike Everitt at first base who rang up Darwin Barney in the first inning on a check swing even though the bat didn’t leave Barney’s shoulder.
The double switches ruined us. We started the 10th with Baker and DeWitt as the only available bats on the bench (we know Quade will never use his second catcher in any circumstance, ever, so Hill doesn’t count). It really hurt when Byrd led off the 9th with a hit, and Quade asked Campana to bunt – only Quade changed his mind when Campana got to 3-2 and Campana rewarded his manager with a double play ball that Byrd decided not to break up.
I generally like Bob Brenly, but Len Kasper is a bit of a hack. He was itching to get Ian Desmond in a 2-2 count so he could make a “Desmond Tutu” joke – because apartheid is always funny. His joke wasn’t particularly offensive, and it’s not as bad as uttering “he gawn” with raucous enthusiasm 24+ times a game, but it’s childish. Len works so hard to be clever; just call the game.
Next time someone needs to remind Carlos Marmol what it means to be involved in a tie game. That guy at second – he needs to stay there…and once he’s at third, this isn’t a race to see how quickly you can uncork one to the backstop.
Fire Mike Quade
Look at what went wrong – it’s all managerial decisions. The guy is a bumbling clown. His supporters might argue that hindsight is 20/20, but I’m not even convinced that Quade’s hindsight is 20/20. He does not put his players in positions where they excel. It’s often said that even a great MLB manager isn’t directly responsible for very many of his team’s wins – but Quade seems to be setting a record for just how many times he can be responsible for a loss.
Our “All-Star” manager (Jim Riggleman’s parting gift to Cubs’ fans) has outlasted all the naysayers and managed one more Cubs loss than Jim Essian was able to muster during his time at the helm. Yes, we can now definitively and unequivocally say that Quade is worse than Essian. The circumstances under which Quade was hired might preclude a mid-season firing – and certainly Hendry wouldn’t fire HIS new manager before one season had run its course. But with each loss, and with each new manner of loss, that day is fast approaching. And until that day, losses will be bittersweet; because though we again fly the “L” flag today, those “L”s will eventually add up to a new manager.
I’ll have more on Quade and Essian later in the week – but for it should suffice that even by Jim Essian’s standards Quade should be gone.
Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)
1st Star – Laynce Nix (.341 WPA)
2nd Star – Jayson Werth (.330 WPA)
3rd Star – James Russell (.181 WPA)