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Saturday

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September 2011

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COMMENTS

Game 151 – Quade Bets The Wrong Horse; Cubs Win Anyway

Written by , Posted in General

Cubs 4, Astros 3 (12 innings)

Box Score / Highlights

What Went Right

Patience – an impressive display of patience by our hitters today. The Cubs drew a total of 9 walks, and two each for the free-swinging Starlin Castro and Marlon Byrd. The so-called winning run scored in the 12th because of Castro’s second walk.

Garza – there’ll be more about him later. But I can’t begrudge him this spot, other than Carlos Lee, Garza carved through the AAAAstros with relative ease. In five of his nine innings he faced only three batters. After Carlos Lee homered to lead off the second, the Astros had only one baserunner reach second base until the 9th.

Marmol – he was nasty today. Only one hitter even saw a single ball; 17 of his 19 pitches were strikes. He retired 6 straight hitters. The rest of the bullpen was solid; but Marmol was brilliant.

What Went Wrong

Mike Quade – see below…

Umpires – the umpires were terrible, particularly home plate umpire Jeff Nelson. In the first Darwin Barney grounded into a double play off of his left hand – even though most of the Astros believed he’d been HBP. In the 9th, Castro struck out on a pitch that was both high and outside.

Fast forward to the 12th, bases loaded with Cubs, one out and Marlon Byrd at the plate. Byrd goes up there hacking even though Astros reliever David Carpenter had walked Castro, intentionally walked Ramirez, thrown a wild pitch and after going 3-0 to Reed Johnson, he threw the fourth intentionally wide to him too. That sounds like a guy who has command of the zone.

So after taking ball one, Byrd gets antsy and swings. Not, mind you, at a pitch that he can really drive; just at something that might’ve possibly had the chance of being called a strike. He gets a hold of it; it bounces once, then a second time right on the chalk halfway up the third base line. The third time it bounces after Astros third baseman Chris Johnson touches it in what appeared to be (admittedly, after replay) foul territory. It grazes the chalk again after Johnson touches it; third base umpire David Rackley calls it fair and home plate umpire Jeff Nelson does not overrule him. Cubs Win, Cubs Win – even though Castro, who watched the flight of the ball, wasn’t convinced himself.

The umpires weren’t needed much, but on the close/important calls they got almost everything wrong.

I’m unclear as to whether the Astros can protest the outcome.  Judgment decisions are not permitted for protest – but if ever there was a game that would be easy to pick up from the point in question, this would be it.

The Takeaway

Mike Quade might be the worst MLB manager. I’m not intimately acquainted with every other manager, but certainly there can’t be too many who regularly use a bench player to start in an unfamiliar position and/or bat him cleanup, or who with expanded rosters aren’t familiar with the appropriate time to use a pinch runner, or who can be so easily bullied by their starter and convinced beyond all rational thought that the starter deserves a fourth chance to face the ONE guy who has given him trouble – even though the bullpen boasts a reliever who has completely owned the same player. And that was just today!

Quade can’t fill out a lineup card – as evidenced by his stubborn refusal to give Bryan LaHair (never mind anyone else on the bench who has something to prove) a regular starting spot during a meaningless September. Today was essentially the Opening Day lineup with the notable exception of Jeff Baker in RF – notable because he was batting cleanup (though he shouldn’t) and playing in RF (though he shouldn’t).

The horse racing handicapper who moonlights as the Cubs’ manager also didn’t get much sleep last night. That can be the only acceptable explanation why when Carlos Pena hit a one-out double in the 11th, Quade didn’t immediately pinch-run for him with someone faster. You know, like ANYONE on the bench! After Campana walked, the cynical part of me was really pulling for a gapper whereby Campana would foolishly pass Pena on the basepath; I could almost taste the sweet agony.

But the cherry on top of Quade’s one game résumé was his stubborn refusal to remove Garza in the 9th. Garza had been cruising, and we all know he’s not the easiest person to remove from a game. Unfortunately, that’s Quade’s job…and unfortunately Mike Quade doesn’t like doing his job – or so it would seem. Garza had thrown 96 pitches at the start of the 9th. At that point, Quade was doing the right thing – Marmol was up and throwing; we had the wait-and-see approach with Garza.

Then Garza threw three straight balls and wound up surrendering a single. Here is the point at which Quade fails. REMOVE HIM! Barring a double play, Carlos Lee was going to hit as at least the tying run. Marmol sports a 3-for-21 record against Lee. It’s a literal no-brainer. Marmol still has wiggle room if he works his normal antics and no matter what happens Garza can’t suffer the loss.

Lee belts a game-tying two-run blast. Bogusevic then singles (finally we get a visit to the mound) and Paredes just misses the second two-run homer of the inning when he flies out to deep right field to end the threat. Garza would finish with 124 pitches, the most in his CAREER…remember, this is September and we’ve been eliminated for some time.

From what I remember, Quade was a fine third base coach – he’s a horri-awful manager.

 

Stars of the Game
Base on Win Probability Added (WPA)

1st Star – Fernando Rodriguez (.434 WPA)

2nd Star – Carlos Lee (.418 WPA)

3rd Star – Carlos Marmol (.291 WPA)

  • BLPCB

    I’m starting to hate Quade the way I hate Ned Flanders. Ad I hate Flanders to no end.

  • Buddy

    Even my Cub-fan friends who were still defending Quade in July are ready to give him the boot.

  • BLPCB

    *and
    Side note my spam word was Zimmer and auto correct wants to make it Zimmerman

  • Norm

    Didn’t watch the game, but Castro getting two walks when he’s on the verge of 200 is a good sign IMO; shows he’s not pressing to get to, in the grand scheme, a meaningless round number.

  • Saw the 10th inning and on after work.
    Can’t say I’ve seen the Cubs win a game on a foul ball like that one. But you guys know we’ve had some bad crappy breaks. Nice to get a crappy break go our way.

  • Bryan

    I wasn’t able to catch any of this game, just the final score. Excellent job Jedi on the recap. For what it’s worth, I have officially switched from “Cubs” mode to “Huskers” mode. GO BIG RED!!!

  • Bryan

    *My spam word was heroin…

  • Buddy

    Once again, Norm is right on the money!

  • lizzie

    I didn’t see the game, but it’s pretty telling when the first two “stars of the game” (by a healthy margin) are from the other team. There was something intangible that made me dislike Quade even last year. Now I’ve got a whole lot of tangibles.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Right out of ths gate, Quade had problems managing his pitchers. That we’re now in the home stretch and he still has not learned anything tells you all you need to know about him as a manager. If he’ll go back to coaching third, great. Otherwise it’s time to put him out to pasture.

  • Buddy

    I knew Geo Soto was having a bad year, but I didn’t realize it was this awful. His onbase percentage is even lower than Barney’s. That is truly shameful.

  • Doc Raker

    Geo is tradeable in my book, sorry Lizzie.

  • Buddy

    I’d say everyone is available, with Castro being the hardest to acquire of course. Not sure what the Cubs would get for Soto coming off such a rotten year though. Probably wise not to sell low, unless you can work some magic and swindle somebody.

  • LaHair went yard today. Too bad he is forty three or whatever…I’m starting to like him.

  • Doc Raker

    Have I mentioned LaHair reminds me of Mark Grace? Grace was pretty good. LaHair is 28 and a player is at his strongest at 30 so LaHair may have a few pretty good years ahead of him.

  • Buddy

    Aside from being 6’5″, 240 lbs, striking out every four at bats, hitting for power, and sucking at defense, he reminds me of Grace too. Hell, they’re basically twins!

  • Larry Sproul

    How they won this game I will never know!! Quade has worn out any welcome he had . Looking back on crappy managers he takes the top of the list .

    Lets hope the new GM can fix this mess !

  • Jedi

    Lizzie, I thought this game was as good as an example as any that the WPA is just as flawed as any other stat. The idea that Byrd and Garza contributed roughly the same to the win is laughable.

  • Norm

    WPA is a story telling statistic.
    Before Garza gave up the 2nd home run, the Cubs had (I’m guessing here) a 95% chance to win the game.
    After the homer that tied it, the Cubs had a 55% chance to win the game.
    That’s -.400 for Garza on that one play.
    WPA isn’t supposed to tell you how good he pitched or anything like that.

  • Doc Raker

    LaHair swings lefty and gets a lot of hits. Mark Grace was a lefty and got a lot of hits. The End.

  • Jedi

    And it’s telling the wrong story of that game.

  • Norm

    Its telling you exactly what it says its telling you. How much the player contributes to the probability of winning the game.

  • Jedi

    You’re going to be combative about a game you didn’t even watch?

    Byrd and Garza did not equally contribute to the probability of the Cubs winning that game. Only on paper using a flawed stat could that be true.

  • lizzie

    @Doc, no apologies necessary, I think everyone’s tradeable. I’m sure you’ll all agree a trade shouldn’t affect his smoldering sexuality. 🙂

  • Norm

    lol, this is about WPA, not the game.
    But you don’t like a statistic, it must be flawed. Can’t be that you just don’t understand what its trying to tell you.

  • Jedi

    I don’t find it to be infallible.

    Watch the game, then try to explain how Byrd and Garza were equal contributors to the win – it’s really not close.

  • Norm

    Nothing is infallible.

    Like I mentioned above, Garza gave up a 2 run homer in the 9th inning to cost the Cubs the victory.
    He still pitched pretty dam good. But going from a 95% chance to win to a tie game is a very large subtraction from the probability of winning.

  • Jedi

    I’m sorry, are you still taking issue with the fact that “WPA is just as flawed as any other stat” or that “Byrd and Garza did not equally contribute to the probability of the Cubs winning that game”? It gets confusing when you waffle back and forth.

    As I’ve said all along, an arbitrary stat may indicate that they contributed the same to the win; watch the game and tell me that such an indication is representative of the ACTUAL game; because it’s not. Still can’t understand why you wanna fight this point when you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about.

    WPA for Game 151 does not, does not, tell you who really contributed to the Cubs win. I’m not sure how you can dispute that without having seen the game.

  • BLPCB

    I feel dumber for reading this

  • Tangotiger

    WPA tells you who was INVOLVED when really great or really bad things happened.

    It does not specifically say who was RESPONSIBLE.

    So, if at one moment the game was “in the bag”, and in the next moment it was anyone’s game, all WPA does is tell you who was involved when that happened.

    Not to bring back bad memories, but Game 6 here is the perfect intro to it:
    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/crucial-situations

  • Norm

    Thanks Tango…good read.
    Alex Gonzalez….

  • Jedi

    Like I said – WPA is telling the wrong the story of this game.