Cubs manager Joe Maddon brought in closer Aroldis Chapman in the seventh inning with a comfortable 7-2 lead and left him in the game into the ninth inning. Why?
“We brought him in earlier because that’s the part of the order he had to get out,” Madddon maintained. “You do not want the game to get away from you at that particular moment, so it all worked out well.”
Chapman entering the game so early, and staying so long, left Cubs fans scratching their heads given the five-run lead.
“We were just trying to get [Pedro Strop] ready,” Maddon explains of leaving Chapman on the mound to start the ninth inning. “That happened so quickly with the home run. We had to get him ready. I wanted to get him out there, but that’s why he went out there for one hitter only.”
The fireball throwing fireman boasts six-and-a-third innings pitched and 102 pitches thrown in this World Series. In an elimination game, every pitcher becomes available. But with a second elimination game coming in as many nights, the Aroldis Chapman available tonight may pale next to the Aroldis Chapman available had he remained in the bullpen Tuesday night. Should the Cuban, who put a goose egg on the Indians in his series appearances until last night, factor into a loss in the seventh game Maddon’s peculiar decision in the sixth game immediately becomes magnified several hundred times.
“I really anticipate a lot of the same,” Maddon told a Fox interviewer of Chapman after the 9-3 Game Six victory. “I do. He’s a very strong young man. I’ll talk to him later today and tomorrow. But I think he’s gonna be fine, honestly.”
And if he’s not fine, Maddon may not be fine with forever frustrated fans.