7/20 Q: “Play with some freaking intensity”
Mike Quade was hot after Wednesday’s 9-1 loss to the Phillies and it wasn’t because of the weather. He was upset about Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney failing to catch Michael Martinez’s pop up in the first.
“We set a bad tone there,” Quade said. “A ball’s in the sun, they’re communicating, Cassie thought he had it all the way. I look back at this whole game and look at that play, and the sun’s been in the same [darn] spot for however long Wrigley Field has been here.
“Those are the kind of mistakes — there are certain ones you’ll accept but there are other ones that have to be taken care of,” he said. “Those are two talented kids in the middle of the diamond. We make enough mistakes that we need to clean them all up. It’s so important for those guys to play well in the middle. Everything goes through them, everything. If we’re going to be good pitching, we have to play good in the middle.”
Quade felt Dempster might have escaped the first if the ball had been caught. Instead, Martinez was credited with a single, Dempster walked the next batter and both eventually scored. The Cubs manager talked to both Castro and Barney after the game about the importance of defense. His message?
“Put the negativity behind us, play with some freaking intensity and continue to work on playing the game the way we need to play, and we’re not,” Quade said. “That’s what we’re looking for. It’s not universal. We have to clean up some specific areas.”
He spared the veterans, saying they were doing a darn good job.
“I just know the value of the middle of the diamond,” Quade said. “We have two talented kids there who need to get better. They’ve got 60-some games to prove that and to show that the rest of this season and go on from there.”
Barney said he wasn’t surprised that Quade was upset.
“I’m surprised it hasn’t happened earlier to be honest,” the second baseman said. “When it comes down to it, you’ve got to play better. We’re playing the best team in baseball. We want to be the best team in baseball and we’ve said many times we believe we can be. I guess it’s time to take a gut check and try to get better and come out and work hard in BP and get quality ground balls and turn this thing around. It’s not going to happen overnight.”
Barney didn’t want to comment on the play specifically. Quade did say the two communicated, and Castro thought he had it. The problem isn’t lack of experience.
“We’re here for a reason,” Barney said. “You don’t come to the big league level and have the excuse of being inexperienced. You have to get the job done. The way I look at it, Starlin’s 21 and I’m 25. If he wasn’t ready and he didn’t have what it takes, he wouldn’t be here and neither would I. We’ve got to do it, we’ve got to get the job done and we’ve got to get better.”
— Carrie Muskat