Last year we watched as Quade was tossed a bone in the midst of a disastrous season under Piniella. Sweet Lod had his moments as manager but it was clear to everyone that his time was up. Rather than go outside the organization, Jim Hendry brought him into the management and the team responded with a sterling 24-13 finish. By comparison, the team's fundamentals improved and our pitchers were great. We went 19-10 in Sept/Oct and the ERA was 3.24, more than 2 points lower than July. Z was 5-0 with a 1.10 ERA and even Coleman was 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA. In a period of 11 games mid Sept, we didn't allow over 3 runs in any games.
However our team BA was a season worst in Sept at .234. We outscored our opponent by a mere 5 runs over that period. Clearly our starting rotation was superb, but our hitters were still doing poorly. Ultimately Quade was given a contract to manage and, given the record under his stewardship, even many Sandberg supporters were accepting of the Q regime.
Many Cub fans are wondering how the team could play so well the last year under Quade and so poorly this year. Were there warning signs missed? Is Mike fool's gold. Let's look at a few things that had me shaking my head last year. Players were brought up from the minors but played sparingly with the exception of Barney and Hoffpaiur. Castillo only had 15 plate appearances. Remember the day Castro sat because of bad decision? Quade explained that by saying he thought standards were different for veterans and rookies. Perhaps that explains his apparent reluctance to hold some veteran players to a standard that would improve the team.
Last year's starting pitchers were incredible under him. Marmol had 15 saves and between Marmol and Marshall, they allowed 4 hits in 91 plate appearances. The truth is, we never had the opportunity to watch Quade handle the pitching staff, particularly the bullpen.
This year we're getting the real Mike Quade and the honeymoon is over. Sandberg is gone and this year isever for playoff hopes. Zambrano has called out his team mates and publicly gave the finger to his manager by breaking a bat after being told it was a bad idea the day before. The team is in fee fall.
My question is...could the era of Mike Quade been avoided by looking deeper into his performance last year. It's clear to me that he defers to the veterans and that's OK with a good team. But this team is bad and trending terrible. The ball is in Hendry's court. Will he intervene? Will Tom Ricketts get involved in baseball operations. And now that Z has opened the door with his tirade, local media sees blood in the water. They'll be attacking until a major move is made. The Sword of Damocles hangs over Wrigley.