October 2010

10/3 Extra bases

Ryan Dempster tied a career high with his 34th start, and fell one strikeout shy of his career best 209, which he set in 2000 with the Marlins.

* The Cubs bullpen finished on a strong note. The relievers did not give up a run in 28 consecutive innings.

* Sean Marshall appeared in his 80th game Sunday. It’s the eighth time a Cubs reliever has reached 80 outings in a season and the first time since Carlos Marmol had 82 outings in 2008.

* The Cubs finished in fifth place in the NL Central at 75-87.

— Carrie Muskat

10/2 Z lobbies for Dunn

Looking ahead to next season, Carlos Zambrano says the Cubs need another big bat in the lineup. And he has the right man for the job in Adam Dunn.

“I want that guy,” Zambrano said. “He wants to play for us, not only this year but two years ago. He told me he wants to play at Wrigley Field badly.”

The Cubs pitcher said Dunn said he wanted to take aim at Wrigley Field in 2008 when he was traded by the Reds to the Diamondbacks. This year, Dunn was batting .260 with 38 homers and 103 RBIs for the Nationals. Aramis Ramirez leads the Cubs with 25 homers and 83 RBIs.

“When you see a guy who wants to play for an organization and he wants to give everything he has for that organization, that says a lot,” Zambrano said. “I want to see him here next year here but if we can’t sign him, we can’t do it.”

Zambrano said the Cubs need someone in the mix to protect Ramirez and Marlon Byrd. The team dealt Derrek Lee, who had been the No. 3 hitter, to the Braves on Aug. 13 and Xavier Nady took over at first. Nady will be a free agent after this season.

“We need that extra bat in the lineup next year,” Zambrano said.

— Carrie Muskat

10/2 Extra bases – UPDATING

Since Mike Quade took over, the Cubs are 17-4 on the road, trailing only the Phillies for the best mark in that stretch. He will become the fifth Cubs manager to post a .600 or better winning percentage as a mid-season replcement. Whitey Lockman went 39-26 (.600) in 1972 after replacing Leo Durocher.

The Cubs are 19-9 in September with one game remaining, and assured of posting their first winning month of the season. It’s the first time in 117 years that the team will have a winning record in the final month after sub .500 marks in every other month.

* Will Carlos Zambrano be the Cubs’ Opening Day starter in 2011?

“The rotation is [Ryan] Dempster [on Sunday] and I’ll see you guys next year — maybe,” Quade said. “It’s a long winter. We’re all day to day.”

What does Zambrano think?

“I don’t know — talk to ‘Q,'” he said, then smiled. “Talk to ‘Q.'”

* Alfonso Soriano has reached 40 doubles for the fifth time in his career and first time since hitting 42 in 2007 with the Cubs. It’s the 27th time in franchise history a Cubs player has reached 40 doubles.

* Aramis Ramirez’s grand slam Saturday was his 20th career homer at Minute Maid Park, second most by an opponent behind Albert Pujols’ 23. Ramirez’s 59 RBIs are the most by an opponent at the Astros’ home park.

* The Cubs won 11 series under Lou Piniella; they have won eight under Quade.

* With the Astros’ run in the seventh inning Saturday, the Cubs had their scoreless innings streak snapped at 27. It’s the club’s longest scoreless innings streak since a 28-inning run, June 25-29, 2005. In addition, the run snapped a 21-inning scoreless streak from Cubs starting pitchers.

* Zambrano is 8-0 with a 1.41 ERA in his final 11 starts since being added to the rotation after missing time on the restricted list.

— Carrie Muskat

10/2 Lineup vs Astros

Carlos Zambrano will make his final start of the 2010 season on Saturday. No Kosuke Fukudome, so his left knee must still be bothering him. We have have seen the last of Fukudome for the season. Here’s the lineup:

2B Baker
SS Castro
CF Byrd
3B Ramirez
1B Nady
LF Soriano
RF Hoffpauir
C Hill
P Zambrano

— Carrie Muskat

10/2 Melvin in town

Cubs GM Jim Hendry will interview former Mariners and Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin this weekend in Houston, according to the Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) newspaper. Hendry had talked to Melvin when he interviewed managers prior to the 2003 season. The Cubs hired Dusty Baker at that time. Melvin managed the Mariners from 2003-04, compiling a 156-168 record. He finished second in the American League West in ’03. He joined the Diamondbacks in 2005 and in five seasons was 337-340, finishing first in ’07 and second in ’05 and ’08. He was let go in 2009 after the team got off to a 12-17 start. So far, Hendry has talked to former Indians manager Eric Wedge and Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg, who managed the Cubs’ Triple-A Iowa team.

The Cubs are 23-12 under Mike Quade, second-best record in the Major Leagues since Aug. 23. Only the Phillies have a better mark at 26-11.

— Carrie Muskat

10/1 Final weekend

Mike Quade has three games remaining as the Cubs manager, starting Friday, and then he’ll wait and see what GM Jim Hendry wants to do. Quade said he does not have a formal interview time set.

“I really am in a day to day mode,” Quade said Friday.

There are some fish in Florida waters needing his attention but he did plan on spending a few days at the end of the season in Chicago.

“I talk so much about ‘the process’ — that process will take care of
itself,” he said of the interview progress. “I’m flexible as can be. That conversation needs to happen.
… I haven’t concerned myself with that.”

Players have endorsed Quade who has guided the Cubs to a 22-12 record since taking over Aug. 23.

“It starts with figuring out who I am and getting comfortable with me and how I plan to do things and how I’m going to react to things and everything else,” Quade said. “All the little stuff that you do during the course of the day, be it a conversation or how you put your lineups together, all of that stuff seems to matter. So you hope guys will respond. It didn’t have to go as well as it has. I’ve talked about the process and I really mean that, and I think that’s been in place for the six weeks or five weeks or however long it’s been and that’s been a part of it. The process is not just going out and catching the ball and throwing it to first. It has to do with a lot of different things. They’ve done a great job, all the kids.”

Any positive feedback is better than negative feedback, he said.

“I’m just happy that everybody’s comfortable and I’m really happy that I’m comfortable,” Quade said. “That’s made a big difference in my life the last five weeks.”

— Carrie Muskat

10/1 Extra bases – UPDATED

Casey Coleman threw seven scoreless innings and hit a RBI double in Friday’s 2-0 win over the Astros. The last Cubs rookie to throw at least seven scoreless and pick up at least one RBI was Kyle Farnsworth on Aug. 29, 1999.

* The Cubs pitching staff extended its scoreless inning streak to 21 innings with Friday’s game. They have recorded consecutive shutouts for the second time in the final month.

* The Cubs gave up 17 hits over four games against the Padres. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the fewest hits permitted by the team in a series of at least four games since a four-game sweep of the Mets in July 1963 in which Casey Stengel’s club managed 17 hits. That Mets team would go on to finish the season 51-111.

* Three of the first four games on this road trip have resulted in a shutout as have six of the last 10 and 11 of the last 20 games dating to Sept. 8. Cubs pitchers have recorded 13 shutouts this year, the staff’s most since 14 in 2003.

* Former Cubs outfielder Matt Murton, who is playing for Hanshin, needs three hits in the next five games to tie Ichiro Suzuki’s record for most hits in a single season in Japan. The mark is 210 hits. Murton has 17 home runs and 86 RBIs with the Tigers.

— Carrie Muskat

10/1 Lineup vs Astros

It’s the last series of the regular season for the Cubs and Mike Quade is giving some of the regulars a breather. Welington Castillo fans will be happy — the rookie is in the lineup. Kosuke Fukudome is still bothered by a sprained left knee but was going to test it in batting practice. The Astros are starting lefties Saturday and Sunday. Here’s the order:

CF Fuld
SS Barney
2B DeWitt
LF Soriano
1B Hoffpauir
RF Snyder
3B Scales
C Castillo
P Coleman

— Carrie Muskat