Cubs complete 2020 stretch with capital sweep


Cubs complete 2020 stretch with capital sweep

Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010
10:22 PM

By Patrick Mooney

WASHINGTON Sometime after the teams United Airlines charter left BaltimoreWashington International Airport on Wednesday nightThursday morning, Mike Quade hoped that he could take a deep breath and reflect on everything that had happened.

On Saturday night the Mount Prospect native stared out his window after being told he would become the 51st manager in Cubs franchise history.

The 53-year-old had never played in a major-league game, much less managed one, and he would be replacing Lou Piniella, who has a strong argument that he belongs in Cooperstown, N.Y. As Monday night bled into Tuesday morning, Quade couldnt fall asleep after the first big-league victory of his career.

You want to take a moment just to reflect on things, he said. Not just about last night, but how long the roads been, blah, blah, blah. So you do that and then Im looking at the clock its 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, 2:30 (a.m.).

The fast-talking Quade managed 2,378 games at the minor-league level, but none of those decisions would be dissected the next day on Chicagos sports-radio stations.

Well play our tails off for him the rest of the way, Ryan Dempster said. Hes probably been waiting his whole life to do (this).

On Wednesday night at Nationals Park, Quade told Dempster that he was finished after seven innings. Dempster felt like he had total command of his fastball, and he had thrown only 79 pitches in a scoreless game he clearly didnt want to leave.

If that was a risk, it paid off when pinch-hitter Tyler Colvin drew a walk on four pitches and stole second. Colvin scored when Starlin Castro lined a double into left field and the Cubs finished off a sweep of the Washington Nationals with a 4-0 victory.

You can do what you want decision-wise, but the guys have to execute and pick you up and win (it), and thats what they did, Quade said. I couldnt live with myself if were tied in the eighth and I dont try to do something to win the game.

After Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano hit their 20th and 21st home runs of the season respectively, Dempster (12-8) had earned the victory. The right-hander had thrown at least 89 pitches in each of his previous 26 starts this season, and this one was shaping up to perhaps be his best two hits, eight strikeouts, one walk in seven innings.

Thats his decision as a manager and I stand by that as a player, Dempster said. Ill do whatever the manager tells me to do. So do I want to come out of the game? Of course I dont. He knows that. Everybody knows that. (But) way too many positive things came out of today to worry about that.

Dempster was asked about the differences with Quade running the show and gave a deadpan answer: We won three in a row. Hes undefeated.

That might have something to do with the 53-74 Nationals. The Cubs (54-74) won seven of their 20 games in 20 days, a brutal stretch that finally ended Wednesday night in Washington.

During that time, they played for three managers and against five legitimate pennant contenders Cincinnati, San Francisco, St. Louis, San Diego and Atlanta. Carlos Silva underwent heart surgery and Derrek Lee and Mike Fontenot were traded. Piniella took a leave of absence, came back and fought back the tears after his final game in a uniform.

Never before has Quade looked forward to a day off in Cincinnati this much. He wont need to request a wake-up call for Thursday morning. But the surprise has worn off, and hes focused on the job.

Im past that, Quade said. Look, I like managing. I loved it in A-ball and I loved it in Double-A. (The) guys have made it a lot of fun for me by playing well, but the game will humble you.

Patrick Mooney is's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Jon Lester's soccer career and other things to know about Cubs left-hander

Jon Lester's soccer career and other things to know about Cubs left-hander

Jon Lester is the best free agent addition in Cubs history, the guy who joined a last place club and helped push them to perennial contender status. He played a big part in the Cubs snapping their World Series drought, and even at 36 remains a durable, competitive starter.

Here’s a few things you may not know about the Cubs’ left-hander.

1. While playing in a soccer tournament in Italy at the age of 13, an Italian club approached Lester about playing professionally. He turned it down and the Red Sox drafted him five years later.

2. In August 2006, two months after making his MLB debut, Lester was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He underwent chemotherapy in the 2006-07 offseason and returned to the Red Sox in July 2007.

3. Lester’s charity, NVRQT, works to raise awareness and funds to fight pediatric cancer. Lester was the Cubs’ 2019 Robert Clemente Award nominee for his charitable efforts.

4. In 2011, Lester was featured on a wine label produced by Longball Cellars. Proceeds from “CabernAce” benefited the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

5. Lester, an avid golfer, once shot an 81 at Augusta National, according to Golf Digest.

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Anthony Rizzo has no regrets over signing bargain extension in 2013

Anthony Rizzo has no regrets over signing bargain extension in 2013

Back in 2013, the Cubs locked up a 23-year-old Anthony Rizzo on a seven-year, $41 million extension — with two options that could make it nine years for $74 million.

Rizzo is a cancer survivor, and gaining financial stability was a big thing for him. Seven years later, the deal is one of the best in baseball from a team perspective, but incredibly below market value overall.

However, the big first baseman, who’s emerged as a cornerstone for the Cubs, has no regrets over his decision.

“I’ve had the freedom from 22, 23 years old to financially do whatever I want and play freely,” Rizzo told NBC Sports Chicago’s Gordon Wittenmyer. “And I’m going to be able to do financially whatever I want for the rest of my life as long as I don’t make poor choices.

“At the end of this contract, it’ll make a lot of money, and I’m playing the game I love.”

The Cubs shut down extension talks with Rizzo over the winter, and he said it never got to the point of discussing any numbers. He has “no idea” what the Cubs’ thinking was on shutting down those talks, too.

The two sides will likely talk extension again in the future, but until then, the Cubs have Rizzo on an absolute bargain of a deal.

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