Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Mike Quade coping with difficult season
By Bruce Levine
CINCINNATI -- Mike Quade admits that his first full season managing the Cubs has hardly been easy, but he isn't letting the adversity shake his positive outlook.
"It's tough," Quade said. "It's not just losing ballgames, but the depth of the injury situation. This has been as big a test as I've ever had over the years, I can tell you that. We'll just see how we come out of it. All of us, not just me."
Quade's Cubs haven't won more than two games in a row all season and they entered Tuesday's game against the Reds on a seven-game losing streak. He's seen starting pitchers Randy Wells, Andrew Cashner and Matt Garza spend time on the disabled list, along with starters Marlon Byrd, Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano and key utility players Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker.
Quade could not have imagined losing so many players to injury this season, but hasn't used that as an excuse for his team's situation. The baseball lifer handles his frustration privately and tries to keep things in perspective.
"I prefer to deal with that part of it on my own," Quade said. "Look, I called a friend of mine today (former pitcher Don Robinson) who had a stroke. You look back on that stuff, those things help with your perspective -- that you're whining about six or seven losses in a row and some injuries. [(What you do is) you get your (butt) to the ballpark to do some freaking work. You're not in the hospital. (Our jobs are) important, it matters, but things could be worse."
Quade does believe his players are working to turn things around, disagreeing with comments Cubs television broadcaster Bob Brenly made on a local radio station that his team looked like a "dead-ass team".
"One thing I don't like to do is paint a whole group with a broad brush," Quade said. "Most of the names on this team I don't associate with dead-ass at all. Guys play with different energy levels. I think guys are trying to win and guys are trying to play. I look at the two games we had in St. Louis, we busted our ass. We didn't hit with men in scoring position, but it had nothing to do with being dead-ass. If you have eight guys out there that are sleepwalking through a game out there, fine, but I don't think we have that."
Entering Tuesday's game, Quade's Cubs were 23-35, the second worst record in the National League. The Cubs are 7-20 in the Central Division, adding salt into the open wounds of playing hurt and below expectation.
"There's been plenty of difficulty," Quade said. "But you work your butt off every day and learn from it. It's not easy, but it's another experience you learn from and I believe I'll be better for it."
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.