View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003

Tuesday

5

July 2011

27

COMMENTS

Game 86 – The Farce of July

Written by , Posted in General

Cubs 4, Nationals 5

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

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.

Summary

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)

  • Buddy

    My ears exploded during Len and Bob’s “Tu Tu” bit. Truly awful.

  • Doc Raker

    Desmond 2-2 is all Len has got, he can’t honestly critique the team, he doesn’t know the game well enough to give interesting insight so he is left with stupid word plays every now and then and singing. I love when he tries and sets up Brenly for some obvious baseball point, “Bob, it’s a 3-2 count with 2 outs and runners on, would you send the runners?” “Absolutley Len, always run with 2 outs on a 3-2 count. You see the inning will either end or with a hit the runners………………………..blah blah blah. Watch the opposing teams broadcast whenever possible.

  • Katie

    The red hats are pretty bad… and I turn off the TV and turn on Pat and Keith. There is a delay for the TV, but it’s not bad. Kerry Wood needs to pitch less.

  • mrbaseball2usa

    I hate Len & Bob. Give me the radio broadcast whenever I can, baby.

  • I see people are so weary of the play on the field that it is now ignored to complain about broadcasters.

    I have to go along with the fact that Quade has to go. It does not concern me if he goes this year or not, as long as he isn’t here next year.

    On the other hand, if his management is going to screw up players then he should go now.

    I remain concerned about Castro who is back in the three spot. He has been there nine of the last ten. He is batting .163 over that span. He had gotten his average up to .326 from the .300 it had gone down to last time he was batted third for several games. Now it is down to .307. Castro is batting .385 this year when he is not batting in the third spot.

    And Ramirez is batting .371 over the last ten games with six of his thirteen hits being home runs.

    How obvious does it have to be? I don’t see how it can get more obvious when it is already to the point that I can see the problem.

    In conclusion, I think Quade needs to go now before Castro begins to think he isn’t actually any good at the plate.

  • Eddie Von White

    Quade was a poor choice from the start. So the Cubs won more games than they lost after he took over for Lou – who was he before then? He is in over his head and it shows every game.

    No no one will ever replace Steve Stone.

  • chet

    It is so easy to beat up the manager for all of this, especially when it is a no namer like Quade.

    I still look at this roster and shake my head.

    The theme on this team is inconsistency. Not one of these players can be relied upon to play at a consistent level day in and day out.

    My guess on Starlin in the three whole is they are trying to figure out if he can hit there in the future…screw this season.

    They might be trying to figure out who will hit third next year if they don’t re-sign A-Ram.

    think about that for a minute…..how scary!

  • Larry Sproul

    Ouch !! Another loss this time at the hands of the Nationals . Poor defense, poor bunting and yes both Wood and Marmol had problems .

    A large market team with so many problems ?? It is going to take much more than Quade has to fix this mess . I really wonder how deep Hendry’s search for a new manager went . Not far enough would be my answer . I dont ever remember seeing something like this playout .

    When Tom Ricketts walks around Wrigley in Aug-Sept the light may go off . What the heck happened to all my fans ??

  • Jedi

    Chet – I normally agree that the players need to shoulder the burden for a bad record. But I look at the roster and think “what COULD they do, if given the proper chance?” Quade can’t even get the right guys to the field in the right spots at the right time. Even with all the injuries he’s been able to make some pretty foolish decisions.

    Castro batting third is the perfect example – let’s take the ONE player who’s been consistently good at the plate, and let’s move him to a spot in the lineup where he’s been proven to be ineffective. It’s useless to “solve” a problem by creating another problem – especially when the first problem was never solved. There is a LOT wrong with the Cubs, but the overarching, most obvious thing is that Quade needs to go.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Chet,
    I’m not sure I understand any defense of Quade at this point. The poor construction of our roster is obvious, but that’s not what’s in question here.

    Jedi’s point–and I think it’s a fair one–is that Quade seems to be unable or unwilling to use his players in the most strategic situations. Why did Quade rarely DH Soriano? Why does he keep forcing Castro into the 3rd spot in the lineup? Why did he bring Wood back for the 8th inning yesterday when he had so much trouble getting out of the 7th?

    Here’s a simpler question: what is the benefit(s) of having Mike Quade manage this team? Name one upside; one positive he brings to the table. I’ve tried, and I can’t.

    No doubt there is a cornucopia of problems with this team, top to bottom. But I can’t see how Quade’s not a big part of the problem.

  • Doug S.

    My anti-spam word is Dusty…who I don’t want back. On Quade……he seemed like a nice relief from Lou last year, had some success and closed out a bad season somewhat positively. Honestly I didn’t know what to expect this year.
    Have there been any brilliant management moments that have been the difference in a game in a positive way? Sure seems to have been a few the other way.

    As for the booth guys, I like Brenly. Len, not so much.

  • Norm

    Quade has proven he isn’t good at managing the pitching staff, which is the #1 impact a manager has.

    I love Len and Bob. Len does make obvious lead in questions, but you have to remember there are kids watching so they are also trying to teach some basics to those that do not know them. Of course, people who comment on blogs are much more in tune with basic game strategy, but there are PLENTY of people who watch that are not. So as the play by play guy, he asks a question that the analyst answers.
    It’s not easy to broadcast a game when the team is out of it before July…

  • Mark in Toronto

    It seems to me like Wood just hasn’t been all that effective since his return. Watching yesterday’s game slip away, I think it would have been a better idea to leave Marshall in to get that third out instead of bringing in Wood who has struggled in his previous outings. The way
    Marshall was pitching, I think he would have been able to get the out and prevent the game from getting tied regardless of who the next batter was.

  • Jedi

    Quade had double switched Wood into the game, effectively backing himself into a corner (why double switch Wood in, if you don’t let him pitch the 8th?). So removing Wood before he threw a pitch in the 8th makes him look like an idiot.

    Earlier, he put Samardzija in the game and properly didn’t let him pitch too long (as he often does). I think the hope was that Marshall would go 1-2-3 in the 7th, Wood in the 8th, Marmol in the 9th. But Quade abandoned that plan when Davey Johnson inserted Zimmerman as a pinch hitter, after Marshall gave up a hit. Zimmerman was followed by a Espinoza, a switch hitter who we wanted to have to face a RHP. So it made a lot of sense to bring Wood in at that juncture.

    But therein lies the problem, Quade doesn’t trust his lefties to get out righties (even though Russell and Marshall are more than capable). He LOVES to change pitchers mid-inning, even though our bullpen has a long track record of letting inherited runners score, and most of them prefer to work out of their own trouble anyway.

  • Jedi

    Oh yeah, and the sub-text is that a manager who has not managed since 2000, (Yes, you read that right – 2000!!!) outsmarted Quade at two important junctures yesterday, the bottom of the 7th, and the bottom of the 10th. Pinch-hitting Zimmerman at that point and using Livan Hernandez to lay down the bunt directly led to runs for the Nationals. Davey Johnson put his players in a position to succeed.

    Quade is instead welcoming back our injured pitchers with a runner on 3rd and the prospect of getting 4 outs to “do your job.” Or he’s taking a guy who had been having solid at-bats (Soriano) and replacing him with a guy who can’t hit, asking him to bunt, then asking him to hit when he gets to a full count. Or he goes to the pen and gets our wild closer with a runner already occupying second base. Or he moves our best hitter to what has been the black hole of our lineup, even though we all know that for whatever reason Castro doesn’t succeed there.

  • Buddy

    I agree with your thoughts about Marshall, but Russell should face as few righties as possible. Zero would be ideal. He is a specialist at best, and maybe not even that.

  • MJ

    Steve Stone???

    Good lord.

  • Eddie Von White

    MJ – my point exactly.

  • Wes

    Nothing sums up the Cubs season to this point like a Jayson Werth completely uncontested steal of third in a tie ball game. I can’t recall ever seeing a stolen base where, by the time the camera switched from the batter to the runner, the runner was already standing on the bag. Absolutely, completely, 100% inexcusible baseball by Carlos Marmol. From that point, it didn’t really matter how we lost the game, as it was OVER. Marmol did a fine job of pouring more salt on the wound, however. I knew (as we all do) that this team was BAD several weeks ago. However, yesterday’s loss took things to a new level.

  • Buddy

    Bad teams like the Cubs sure don’t have to work very hard to blow games.

  • Doc Raker

    I think Quade has a lot to learn but so does this front office. Two games last week Campana got on base and we bunted him to 2b, it worked out and we won the games but why are we sac bunting Campana to 2b, why isn’t he stealing the base. Isn’t that why he is on the roster, for his speed? He isn’t on the roster because he is Ted Williams reincarnation. I would say sac bunting with Campana on base is a mistake but we won the games so maybe I am wrong. It has been known to happen, back in 1977 it happened. I thought Dave Kingman should have had the green light on 3-0 and he popped up.

  • Buddy

    Unless the pitcher is at the plate, sac bunting is almost always a mistake.

  • Doc Raker

    Heck, even if the pitcher is up, let Campana steal 2nd and then bunt him to 3rd.

  • Eddie Von White

    And back in ’69 Don Young got a bunt double. Remember that?

  • Wes

    Campana’s bunting attempts yesterday answered my question of, “Does this guy bring ANYTHING other than a stolen base or two a week to the table?” Nope.

  • Doc Raker

    Exactly Wes, so why bunt him over if all he has to contribute is the stolen base?

  • I am in complete agreement about bunting Campana to second. That is taking away the one thing Campana brings to the table. He should be stealing second every time he gets on first.

    I can’t remember his name off the top of my head, but the Cardinals once had a guy like that. He’d get on first and everyone in the park knew he was going to steal second, but on what pitch? It drove the pitcher to distraction and the guy still ended up on second base.

    Seems to me that Campana is capable of stealing second and third in one at bat, then let the batter suicide him home. That would be fun to watch! And at this point I am just looking for something fun to watch!