WASHINGTON -- After another gut-wrenching loss, Chicago Cubs manager Mike Quade was right back at it Tuesday answering questions about what has gone wrong.
What has gone wrong recently is another rash of injuries and illnesses that has decimated the pitching staff.
Carlos Zambrano went on the disabled list Friday with lower back pain. On Sunday, Ryan Dempster came up with a gastrointestinal disorder that has manifested itself into back and hip pain. And Monday, Marcos Mateo walked off the field with his arm hanging, holding his elbow after just seven pitches against the Washington Nationals.
Quade and pitching coach Mark Riggins had Mateo throw 57 pitches in a five-inning stint replacing Zambrano on Thursday. Quade was asked whether the elbow injury was brought on by the excessive numbers of pitches in relieving Zambrano.
"I'd like to think not. I think he threw 40 pitches before but I'm not sure," Quade said. "Fifty-seven pitches! It was a long stint for him. But I'd like to think not. He felt great in his side [session] the other day. He wanted to be available the other day but we wouldn't let him. He had plenty of rest. He has been a starter in the past but you never know [how he got hurt]."
The early prognosis on Mateo's condition wasn't good. The arm was hanging, and he had pain in the elbow. He returned to Chicago and had an MRI before going on the 15-day disabled list on Monday.
Dr. Stephen Gryzlo will see Mateo and the MRI results on Thursday. In the meantime reliever Chris Carpenter returned to the Cubs after getting sent back to the minor leagues on Saturday. He was quickly recalled on Monday night catching a flight from Oklahoma City on Tuesday morning. Carpenter hasn't thrown a pitch in a week.
Monday's debacle of a loss for the Cubs began when Carlos Marmol came into the game and allowed a steal of third base by Jayson Werth that preceded the wild pitch that won the game. Marmol, who was roasted by talk radio on Tuesday for not checking Werth and making the errant throw, wasn't the only one who had responsibility in that situatiuon.
"You want people to keep their eye on it in the middle of the diamond," Quade said. "I know how focused 'Marm' is on the hitter when he comes in. I think he was a little distracted by the situation. In that instance I want one of the middle infielders dogging him, keeping him close. I told Marmol this is a strange situation and to get these two guys out. Just go get them. Rarely do I have to be that forceful with a guy, but I wanted to be sure he was in the right mindset because it was just an unusual situation."
Quade said the Cubs were aware that Werth and Roger Bernandina are threats to steal third base. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Werth has a 91 percent success ratio of stealing third base in his career.