Was Zambrano Being Punished?

The Cubs lost to the Phillies and Roy Halladay on Friday evening, which wasn’t a surprise.  What was a surprise, and what has most people talking/tweeting/cursing/throwing things was that Carlos Zambrano was left in the game to face Placido Polanco with the bases loaded in the seventh inning after he had thrown 125 pitches on the evening.

What the hell was Quade thinking?  Todd Hollandsworth and Dave Kaplan came as close to uttering that phrase as possible without actually saying it during the postgame show.  Both stated pretty clearly that they felt Zambrano was gassed and he had no business being out there to serve up the resulting grand slam on his 128th and final pitch of the night.

It’s not like Z was riding a hot streak.  He had walked the bases loaded (one was intentional), and only managed to get an out in the inning because the Phillies sacrificed after the first walk.  It was Zambrano’s fourth trip through the potent Phillies lineup, which is asking for trouble on the best nights, and this was not anywhere close to one of Z’s best nights.

Meanwhile, the team was down by three runs, so you would think they would have been in ultimate run-stopping mode.  The Cubs surely had plenty of relievers available, even after the extra-inning game the night before.  Assuming it wasn’t John Grabow coming in, I have a hard time thinking of a situation where Zambrano with his arm about to fall off was the best option.  

All I could think, as Zambrano lobbed ball after ball up there in the 7th, was that Quade was teaching Zambrano some sort of lesson for showing up his teammates after his last start.  

I have no sources.  I have no particular insight into the mind of Mike Quade.  This is merely an opinion, and an admittedly half-assed one at that, but this had the feel of a child being taught a lesson.

Didn’t it seem like Quade was basically telling Zambrano, “Well, you seem to have gotten yourself into a real fix here.  Let’s see how well you get out of it without any help from your so-called AAA teammates?” 

It would fit into the Cubs’ and Quade’s past history of treating the players like children.  After all, this is the same team that sends players off to their rooms without dinner and gives them public timeouts for making mental mistakes.

They were already behind and unlikely to score on Halladay if he had stayed it the game, so its not like Quade threw the game.  He simply saved his bullpen for tomorrow when they might have a chance to win for a pitcher that didn’t just publicly declare his team to be an embarrassment.

I don’t know anything for certain, but this felt like Zambrano being taken out to the woodshed.


About aisle424

I used to write lots of things about the Cubs. Now I sometimes write things about the Cubs.