For the second time in less than a week, Cubs manager Joe Maddon does his best job to overthink things, taking starting pitcher Jon Lester out after 6 stellar innings, burning 3 pitchers in the seventh inning, and bringing Chapman in the 8th inning with the bases loaded.
It seems like he learned nothing from his previous attempts to get more than 3 outs from the hard tossing reliever. Even baseball amateurs will tell you, you simply don’t do this. Especially after it blew up on you in the regular season. Chapman has been explicitly vocal about coming in before the 9th inning. Why keep doing it? Why keep burning 3 pitchers in one inning? Travis Wood is perfectly capable of getting out left or right handed batters, as is Mike Montgomery. It seems like when the pressure is on Maddon is at his worst.
I love Joe Maddon and his management style but he is seriously overthinking things. If the Cubs had lost last night, then lost to Kershaw, the series, and the season would have been over.
He doesn’t have to think about that, thanks to some questionable managing on the other side. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts decided to walk the bases loaded to get Chapman up, and possibly out of the game. Maddon complied and pinch-hit Miguel Montero in Chapman’s spot. With two strikes, I was cursing, and questioning their decision to keep him on the playoff roster. One pitch later, I was staring at the TV screen in disbelief.
That’s baseball though. An inch here or there. One pitch. One swing of the bat. What you don’t want to do though is gimp your team by burning pitchers up too early. He pushes buttons though, he makes magic. Last night he was bailed out though, I’m not sure anyone can deny that. Tonight they get Kershaw. Win or lose we can speculate on what would have been if they would have lost yesterday.