With the Cubs tied for the second-worst record in baseball at 26-39 “fans and the media have begun to wonder if Mike Quade’s days as manager may be nearing an end,” according to Sahadev Sharma of ESPN Chicago.
Quade went 24-13 down the stretch last season after taking over for Lou Piniella, but all the friendly press about his turning the team around has disappeared with this year’s awful, drama-filled start.
General manager Jim Hendry gave Quade a vote of confidence yesterday, pointing out that he “didn’t flip a light switch from last year to the beginning of this season and start managing differently or handling people differently.”
Of course, Hendry is on the heat seat himself with the Cubs just 184-204 since the beginning of 2009 and he removed the “interim manager” tag from Quade by signing him to a two-year contract in mid-October.
Hendry, who’s been the general manager since mid-2002, called the Cubs’ poor play “my responsibility” and added: “I certainly wouldn’t dump any of that on Mike Quade. He’s certainly going to do a fine job here.”
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: