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Lou Piniella Is Back And Residing In Mike Quade's Brain

Mike Quade took the reigns of a team late last August that had thus far posted a 51-74 record under Lou Piniella's gasping leadership and turned around its fortunes with a 24-13 stretch in the last leg of the season by basically doing the opposite of what Sweet Lou had done.

That meant, among other things, pulling Alfonso Soriano after a bonehead play; sitting down Starlin Castro after the same; finding playing time for Tyler Colvin while scotching the idea of turning him into a first baseman; rewarding productivity without regard to star power or doghouses; letting the pitching staff relax instead of keeping them on tenterhooks; respecting defense - and his players - by not constantly playing people out of position; and even informing players of the starting lineup well before game time so they could actually prepare for their days' work.

Where oh where has that Mike Quade gone?

Because if he was still around, we wouldn't have seen Soriano starting in left in front of the Green Monster in Boston on Friday when the designated hitter was in play, nor would we have seen Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker out there - especially with hot veteran Reed Johnson on the bench (where Aramis Ramirez ought to be more often) and Tyler Colvin wouldn't be in Iowa. Tony Pena (.223) wouldn't bat fourth or fifth just because (the idea voiced on ESPN's Sunday night broadcast that Pena is "struggling" is belied by the fact that he's hitting 27 points above last year's average and just four below the year before that; Pena isn't struggling, this is who he is). Finally, there wouldn't be a different lineup every damn game. I know this team doesn't have No. 3 hitter, but pick a spot for Castro and stick with it. It may not matter to him - though it should influence his approach at the plate - but it matters to everyone else.

(Quade recently said he chooses his lineup by plugging in who he wants to see on defense first, which is either delusional or a lie because if true, Soriano would never get a start.)

Quade has this team at 20-25, which is still competitive in the NL Central, but a team playing this ugly will eventually fall apart, especially with what the schedule-makers have in store for this team in June, just like it did under the weight of Piniella (and Jim Hendry, the true culprit.) Take a look at

Memo to Mike: You won the job by being yourself. Don't lose it by being your predecessor.

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Week in Review: The Cubs went 3-4 for the week, dropping two to the Reds, taking two from the Marlins, and losing two of three to the Red Sox. The Cubs haven't won more than two games in a row this season. They are the definition of mediocrity.

Week in Preview: The Mets come in on Tuesday to open a nine-game homestand, followed by a weekend series against the Pirates. Now is the time to .500 in advance of the toughest stretch of the season.

The Second Basemen Report: Darwin Barney got all seven starts this week and we'd see he's locked down the job if history didn't tell us otherwise. Jeff Baker got one start in left (inexplicably, at Fenway), which isn't a good idea, and one start at third, which is; he went three-for-four and is hitting 79 points above A-Ram. You certainly don't lose anything defensively, either. Blake DeWitt also got a start in left (inexplicably, at Fenway) and has suddenly become Mike Quade's favorite pinch-hitter.

In former second basemen news, Fred "Dandelion" Pfeffer played for the Cubs when they were the White Stockings. He is credited with inventing the concept of the cutoff man, among other innovations, and still has the best mustache any keystoner has brought to the party. He is missed.

The Zam Bomb Big Z threw 122 pitches in 5 2/3 innings in the Cubs' 9-3 win in Boston on Saturrday night and seemed reluctant to give up the ball to his manager while awaiting the arrival of Sean Marshall. We're pretty sure Z was Getting Angry.

zam_gettingAngry.jpg

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Marlon Byrd Supplemental Report: Take all the supplements you can get your hands on this week, Marlon.

Lost in Translation: Surpriseo wall-san is Japanese for Oh, I thought you meant this Green Monster! Nevermindeo.

Endorsement No-Brainer: Marlon Byrd for Excedrin.

Sweet and Sour Quade: 89% sweet, 11% sour. Mike stands pat 'cause anyone can lose two of three in Boston and the boys get some home cooking this week, which is just what the doctor ordered. And just like your smart, well-adjusted uncle, Mike's gonna bring a big bowl of his famous chili into the clubhouse to let the fellas know that we're still family despite the ups and downs, even if we're not as good as some of the other families on the block, because all we have is each other so we better make the best of it.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Nowhere spiked this week because that's where Tony Campana came out of.

Over/Under: Games before Bob Brenly goes ballistic on Alfonso Soriano again: 2.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that Alfonso Soriano is beyond tutoring at this point in his career.

The Cub Factor: Unlike Soriano, you can catch 'em all!

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

Get Your Gangler On: Follow Marty on Twitter.

Note For Readers Used To Seeing The Mount Lou Alert System Here: When manager Mike Quade shows any signs of, well, really anything abnormal, we will be all over it with some kind of graph or pictorial depiction of whatever it is, but until this guy shows something besides just being a normal, thoughtful, intelligent guy, we got next to nothing on him. We are hoping he shows something and kinda hoping he doesn't also, know what I mean? BUT HE IS GETTING CLOSER . . .

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