Your author was amongst those in attendance last night at Wrigley Field, laying witness to one-man’s abrupt, but no less brutal squandering of an excellent pitching performance by Matt Garza. A 6-3 scoreline in favor of Florida over the Cubs doesn’t nearly do justice to the kerosene-tossing antics of Chicago reliever Carlos Marmol, nor the ineptitude of Mike Quade, who at 10:30am local time this morning, might still be thinking he should’ve left his closer on the mound to finish the inning. ESPN’s Steve Berhiaume noted that Marmol was “the first Cubs reliever in live ball era to walk 4 hitters and not record an out. He threw 25 pitches, 18 balls.” To which Bleed Cubbie Blue helpfully points out, “The ‘live ball era’, in case you are not familiar with the term, dates from 1920 — 91 years ago.”
It was clear from the very first batter in the ninth inning that Carlos Marmol had nothing Thursday night. But did Mike Quade get someone up? No. Did Quade get someone up after the second walk? No. Maybe that’s because Marmol threw a strike to him. It was only after the bases were loaded that Kerry Wood and James Russell started throwing in the left-field bullpen.
Did that do anything? Not really, because even after Marmol finally started throwing strikes, one of which was pounded for a bases-clearing double by Greg Dobbs, Quade sat on the bench and let him walk another hitter, Emilio Bonifacio, before finally getting him out of there.
Every other Cubs manager since 1920 has had the sense to get a reliever out of there if he couldn’t retire a hitter and kept walking people. But no, not Mike Quade, nope, not Quade and his minor-league coaching staff. They just let the walk parade keep parading — and then, compounding the felony, defended the move and said it would continue in the same vein.
“Now is not the time or place to be making bold statements about changes,” insisted Quade after the game, and the rest of the National League agrees, 100%. Better to wait until September, the Cubs are 40 games under .500 and the only paying customers left are tourists like me.