Mike Quade didn't wait for the pre-Fourth of July grilling to come.
The Cubs manager lit the coals himself.
That didn't make his seventh-inning decision right. It wasn't. But he put the heat to himself about leaving starting pitcher Randy Wells in too long in Friday's 6-4 loss to the White Sox at Wrigley Field.
"Sometimes, you take it too far," Quade said at the outset. "This one is on me as far as I'm concerned. He was rolling. When the game got tied, and given the bullpen situation, I backed off and really tried to push him through it, a matchup that wasn't very favorable. And I'm a matchup guy. Don't know what would have happened, but (Jeff) Samardzija was ready, and I could have gone to him."
Here was the situation:
Wells, who had gone no longer than 6 innings in any of his 7 previous starts this year, had just pitched 6 creditable innings of 2-run ball, and the Cubs had a 4-2 lead.
As the White Sox came to bat in the top of the seventh, nobody was warming up in the Cubs bullpen.
A.J. Pierzynski led off with a single. Alexei Ramirez followed by cracking a home run on a 1-1 slider over the wall in left field.
Just like that, game tied. Opportunity for a quality start and a shot of confidence for Wells gone.
There's more. Wells remained in the game.
Alex Rios singled, and after Gordon Beckham grounded out, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen went with the left-handed Adam Dunn to pinch hit against the right-handed Wells with another left-handed batter, Juan Pierre, on deck. Those were the bad matchups Quade knew were looming earlier.
Wells walked Dunn, and Pierre yanked a pitch from Wells into the right-field corner for a 2-run triple.
So Wells entered the inning having pitched 6 innings with 2 earned runs. He exited having pitched 6⅓ with 6 runs given up.
On top of it, Quade had no left-hander warming up. He didn't want to use John Grabow or James Russell, and he said Sean Marshall was his closer because Carlos Marmol had worked 2 innings Thursday. Grabow worked 2 innings Thursday, but Russell was hardly overtaxed.
Quade's plan was to go with Samardzija in the seventh, Kerry Wood (fresh off the disabled list) in the eighth and Marshall in the ninth. But he didn't pull the trigger in time.
"There are plenty of decisions you make that don't work that are the right decisions," he said. "The more I looked at that, the more I wanted to push him (Wells) through. My thing was if we have a 1-run lead, I'm going to Samardz. But because it was tied, I'm going to try to push Wellsie through. In retrospect, just bring a guy in and hope we can score a run late.
"It was something I tried to push through and I shouldn't have."
• Follow Bruce's Cubs reports via Twitter@BruceMiles2112, and join the conversation with other Cubs fans on our baseball blog, Chicago's Inside Pitch, at dailyherald.com.