Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010
By Patrick Mooney
HOUSTON This feels like the last few periods before school lets out for summer, the approximately 48 hours left in this Cubs season.
There was Carlos Zambrano on Friday afternoon posting a lineup card written in Japanese to the wall. And when someone pointed at the brace and questioned the mild left knee sprain, Kosuke Fukudome moonwalked across the room like Michael Jackson.
By Oct. 1, the Cubs and those around the team seemed a bit punch-drunk. While some of the players are already looking forward to flying from Houston to their offseason homes, Mike Quade is awaiting an answer on his future.
The Cubs manager for the moment hasnt scheduled any interviews with Jim Hendry yet. But the general manager is traveling with the team on this last road trip, and watched the Cubs secure a 2-0 victory over the Astros on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.
I really am in a day-to-day mode, Quade said. I will manage here these three days and finish up. Im in no hurry to leave Chicago. I do want to catch (some) fish, but Ill be there for several days (and) that process will take care of itself.
Im flexible as can be. And when that conversation needs to happen, or if anybody needs me, Im always available, whether Im in Florida or whether Im in Chicago. (To) be honest, I havent concerned myself with that.
Quades resume includes a .657 winning percentage (23-12) since he replaced Lou Piniella, but he is not the only one auditioning. In front of 33,869 fans, Casey Coleman threw seven scoreless innings and had an RBI double to beat the Astros (75-85).
Its huge for the offseason, Coleman said. It just sets you up for a new fresh start next year, knowing that you can pitch here and (have gained) a lot of confidence in your teammates and coaches.
Coleman will report to Mesa, Ariz., as a different pitcher in February. Quiet and polite, he mostly kept to himself during his first spring-training camp with the major-league club. He was just trying to get acclimated, facing hitters like Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.
The 23-year-old rookie has now gone at least six innings in seven straight starts. Hes 4-2 with a 3.33 ERA in the eight starts hes been given since the middle of August.
Hes done a heck of a job, Quade said. Ultimately, its about performance. I dont know how many people knew (who) Casey Coleman was eight weeks ago, (but) now hes got a special place in my heart because they know who he is now.
The Cubs staff has now thrown 21 consecutive scoreless innings, and Coleman has tried to convince the front office that he should be part of it in 2011.
A rotation that could begin with Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster at the top will have Tom Gorzelanny and Randy Wells on the next tier. Carlos Silva will have to address health concerns and Jeff Samardzija will be out of minor-league options.
So if others seemed distracted, this final start still mattered to Coleman. He pumped his fist after inducing an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the fifth. Even if the pressures off, hes hoping someone will notice.
Every outing youre out there pitching for a job, no matter where it is (or) what team, Coleman said. You never know what can happen. It means a lot to (many) guys in this clubhouse and I knows it means a lot to Q.
Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.