Everybody wants to talk about the three-hole. My take on it is, Mike Quade’s the manager and he makes the decision. Who he wants in the three-hole is who’s going to be there. I’ll do anything to help this team. If the team is better off with Starlin in the three-hole, that’s fine with me. If they want me in the three-hole, same thing. You have to hit in this game to stay in the top spot and the hot spot. You have to go with the hot hand. Is Starlin ready? I believe so. But at the same time, I’m a male, I have my ego, and I want to do whatever I can to stay in the three-hole. The lineup is going to go back and forth. I have to do a better job of making Quade’s job easier. Starlin is doing the job he’s doing in the one spot, Barney is doing the job he’s doing in the two spot, I have to make sure I do my job, and then one, two, three, four stays solidified. Again, you have to go with the guy who’s doing the job and driving in runs, which is Starlin. A lot of people comment about it but it doesn’t bother me. I know the job I have to do. Everything I’ve done last year, what people really don’t know is last year was the first year I really started off hot. Sometimes it takes time, sometimes you lose your swing and you have to find it. I’m going to keep battling. When September comes, I’ll be exactly where I need to be, whether it’s three, six or wherever that is.
I guess everyone knows about my blowup last Sunday in Milwaukee. There are certain things that happen in baseball that you keep in the clubhouse, you keep between the manager, you keep between the players. Quade came out and said there was miscommunication. I got asked the same question. The big thing about me is I don’t throw managers under the bus, I don’t throw coaches under the bus. The best way for me to keep DeJesus’ name, Dernier’s name and Quade’s name out of the media and my name not attached to any negativity is to not say anything. That was the only way I could get my point across to the media that day.
When you see it on ESPN or MLB Network, nobody knows the reasoning and it makes me look bad. I don’t mind that. Again, the whole point was it was handled internally and kept that way. I didn’t come out and say anything. Nobody is sure what happened and if people want to put the blame on me, that’s fine. I don’t mind that. Everyone makes mistakes in their job. But to harp on it just because a negative came out of it instead of a positive, I thought was unnecessary so that’s the reason I reacted the way I did.
I will always have my coaches backs, my whole organization’s back — all the way from the Ricketts to the clubhouse guys to the janitors to the guys working at Wrigley. I think I have respect in this game and a lot of people understand where I was coming from. The main thing was to have Mike Quade and the 25 guys on this team understand where I’m coming from and they did.
We have an idea of what we want to do this year. We came out Opening Day and didn’t get the win like we wanted to. We played good baseball but didn’t come up with the win. We had a good approach. We expect to beat the Pirates. They’re a Major League Baseball team, a great team, but at the same time, us being the Cubs, we feel we should go out there and win a series against them. We come out in the second game, we’re down by three runs in the eighth inning, things aren’t looking good and the team showed its resilience.
I know a lot of people out there don’t believe in us but we believe in ourselves in this clubhouse and I think that’s a big thing. There are little things that happened yesterday. Blake struggled in Spring Training and he came out and got a big hit. Leadoff walk for Fukey, getting that done, then Starlin Castro being Starlin Castro, he’s one of those guys who is going to hit the ball all year long. I’m not comfortable up there but I was able to get the guy over, good things happened, I got that error. We just moved station to station and got those runs. We showed our resiliency, we showed we’re not going to give up all year long. It’s easy being three runs down in the eighth inning to any big league team and just shutting it down. It’s usually set-up man, closer, game over. Hopefully, that’s going to be the key to us all year long — regardless of what the score is, if we’re down, it doesn’t matter. Teams are going to fear us until that 27th out is made.