Ryan Dempster, last night's winning pitcher, endorsed Quade for manager for 2011:
"He's done a great job," Dempster said. "He's been very upfront and very honest with all of us and he's been tremendously supportive. ... I hope he's here longer than this year. I hope he's managing for us next year because he deserves it. He's done everything they've asked and he's done a great job with us and everybody likes him."
There's no doubt that Quade has been a breath of fresh air in the dugout after Lou's morose last couple of months -- granted, Lou had a lot on his mind with his mother's health problems. Quade seems engaged in the games, clearly has the respect of his players, and the won-lost record has been outstanding. That said, I still don't have a real handle on what Quade would do as a full-time manager; he's operating, basically, with a holdover coaching staff and a team that will likely see significant player changes in 2011.
I'm still in the Ryne Sandberg camp. If the Cubs decide to go Quade's way -- well, though I'd be disappointed, you can't argue with the results from August 23 until now.
Last night belonged to Dempster and Alfonso Soriano, though. Dempster made only one real mistake -- serving up a two-run homer to Nick Hundley in the fifth inning that tied the game at 2 after some shoddy San Diego defense had helped the Cubs to a 2-0 lead in the top of the inning. Then, a similar two-run jack by Soriano gave the Cubs the two-run lead back in the sixth.
Soriano finished off the scoring with his second homer of the game in the eighth. The three-RBI game gave him 78 for the year; two more RBI and the Cubs will avoid being the first club since the 1989 squad to have an RBI leader with fewer than 80 (Mark Grace had 79 RBI to lead the 1989 NL East champions). Soriano also moved up two slots in the NL in SLG; at .501 he ranks 18th.
More good news: Andrew Cashner looked outstanding in his inning of setup relief, hitting 100 MPH on the stadium radar gun; he struck out Adrian Gonzalez to end the eighth inning and Carlos Marmol finished up for his 36th save. That ties him with Lee Smith (1987) and Mitch Williams (1989) for sixth on the Cubs all-time single season list. Next up: Bruce Sutter (37 in 1979) and Randy Myers (38 in 1995).
And I hope he surpasses them, though that would require three saves in the last five games. The way this team is playing -- who knows? The 21-11 mark includes -- and I am not making this up -- a 14-3 record on the road under Quade. The Cubs trail the Brewers by 1.5 games and the Astros by two. Knocking the Padres out of the playoffs wouldn't quite make up for 1984... but it would still be nice.