I don't want to turn this post into a bashing of Cubs manager Mike Quade, but...
Oh, what's the use. Yes, I do want to do that. The eighth inning of the Cubs' 4-3 loss to the White Sox Wednesday night is yet another example of Quade's managing style that I believe may have cost the Cubs at least a chance to tie the game.
Did he not notice that Ozzie Guillen ordered a squeeze in the third inning? With one of the slowest men in baseball, A.J. Pierzynski, on third base? (Never mind that A.J. got there by hitting his first triple in more than two years.)
Let's review. Blake DeWitt led off the eighth with a dribbler that eluded everyone in the infield for a single. Tony Campana ran for him and stole second base (although he'd have been safe anyway, as the ball got away from A.J.) and took third on an groundout by Jeff Baker. That brought Koyie Hill to the plate.
Now, some might suggest pinch-hitting Geovany Soto in that situation. Here's the thing: Geo is hitting .197 in June and has only one PH at-bat all season.
But hey! Koyie Hill is a good bunter and you've got a good (and fast) baserunner on third. Why not try that squeeze that you saw the guy in the other dugout do just a few innings ago, Mike?
Apparently, that idea was just too much for the Cubs manager. He let Koyie attempt to drive in the run another way, and was quoted as saying:
"At that point, with Campana on third, I wanted the best chance to make contact," he said. "I thought Koyie has gotten made some big hits, and I wasn't sure we needed a base hit there. If he puts the ball in play, I feel like we have a shot. … It didn't work out."
Wait, what? It's true, a sac fly would have tied the game. So would a squeeze bunt, Mike. That's what you should have called for. Also, Hill hasn't played in five days and had already struck out twice. You didn't see the K coming, Mike?
But wait, I'm not finished. Ozzie then called for lefthander Matt Thornton to face Kosuke Fukudome. The chances of Fukudome getting a hit off Thornton are roughly the same as if you put me up there. Since DeWitt had already been pinch-hit for, why not bat DJ LeMahieu for Kosuke, since you're going to have to bring him into the game anyway? Or, send Lou Montanez to bat for Kosuke and put him in right field.
Nope. Kosuke was sent up to flail away, and flail he did, striking out, an utterly predictable result, and the Cubs had little chance against Sergio Santos in the ninth inning.
Doug Davis didn't throw all that well, but he did allow only three earned runs -- the fourth scored after DeWitt made an error that prolonged the Sox' fifth inning. One thing Quade did that I actually liked was to order an intentional walk to Paul Konerko in the first inning with a runner on third and two out. Konerko has been perhaps the hottest hitter in baseball the last few weeks -- from May 28-June 21, in 20 games he had hit .446/.512/.986 with 11 HR and 22 RBI, homering in his last five games. You can't let a guy like that beat you, and it worked; Alexei Ramirez popped up to end the inning.
The Cubs bullpen did an excellent job Wednesday night; Chris Carpenter, Jeff Samardzija and Sean Marshall each threw a perfect inning. And Cubs hitters didn't execute when they could have. But part of that is Mike Quade not putting the right call on, or putting up the right hitter for the situation.
The crowd at the Cell was about the same number-wise as the previous two nights, and just about as subdued, despite the White Sox win. There seemed a bit less taunting than in previous years; Sox fans appeared just happy their team won. I did spot an incident in the left field lower deck in the middle innings, but it ended as quickly as it began; security walked some people up the aisle and out.
And as if all of that, and losing another series, weren't enough, this happened on the way home. I exited the Kennedy Expressway and pulled up at the last traffic signal before I got home; there was one car ahead of me at the light.
A Yellow Cab. With the cab number 1908. Will this thing never leave us alone?