Mike Quade certainly has control of his ball club even though he is just the Cubs “interim manager”. Quade made a major statement when he posted the Cubs lineup for Monday afternoon’s game against the Houston Astros. Starlin Castro’s name was no where to be found in the lineup as he was serving a “1-game penalty” for making a mental mistake in the Cubs 18-5 loss to the Mets on Sunday. With his team getting hammered in the bottom of the 8th inning, Castro thought there were 2 outs in the inning rather than just 1. When Castro did not fully run out a groundball, it turned into an inning-ending double play. Quade wanted to make a statement that everyone needs to stay in the game – regardless of the score and regardless of whether you are a star player or a bench player. Everyone is accountable for their actions and everyone will take responsibility for their actions. Castro understand what he did and we expect Castro to be back in Quade’s lineup tonight. This was a great statement by Quade and it’s great to see how the players have responded to Quade and the respect that they have for Quade. Quade certainly won’t be the Cubs manager in 2011, but the new manager should certainly keep Quade on his staff because of his experience and knowledge of the game.
As for the game action, it was a satisfying win despite some flaws.
Casey Coleman labored through 6 innings without his best stuff, but he gutted it for 6 innings to give his bullpen a little much-needed rest after Sunday’s debacle. Coleman needed 118 pitches to do it, but he overcame a 4-run 2nd inning in which the Astros batted around. He gave up just the 4 runs on the day – 8 hits, 5 walks and 2 K’s – and he was delighted that the Cubs were able to come back and win so he took a no decision.
Marcos Mateo, Andrew Cashner and Carlos Marmol tossed scoreless frames in the final 3 innings of the game to give the Cubs a chance to win. Cashner got his 1st win since July 20th, while Marmol notched his 28th save. On one of the worst teams in baseball, it is pretty impressive that Marmol is on the verge of hitting 30 saves for the 1st time in his career.
Marlon Byrd came through with a big 2-run homer in the 3rd inning that cut the Astros lead to 4-3. Blake DeWitt had 2 hits and an RBI and scored a run on Byrd’s homer. Jeff Baker had 2 hits and his RBI double in the 5th inning tied the game at 4. That set up Geovany Soto’s 8th inning heroics with his 17th home run of the season. After a disappointing 2009, Soto has quietly put together a nice 2010 MLB season — .284 batting average; .399 on-base percentage (58 walks versus just 72 K’s; 17 HR’s; 51 RBI’s; and 45 runs in 97 games.
The Cubs are 60-78 and have 24 games left to play during the 2010 MLB schedule. They have to go 13-11 during this last stretch to avoid a 90-loss season. Can they do it? The Cubs have responded to Quade, so it would not surprise me to see them finish over .500 for these final 24 games. They are currently 9-4 under Quade, so they would end up finishing 22-15 under Quade if they are to avoid the 90-loss season.
Carlos Silva makes his 1st start tonight at the Friendly Confines since undergoing a heart procedure to help his irregular heartbeat.