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Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



October 2017



NLDS Game 2 – Bullpen Mismanagement?

Written by , Posted in General

Instead of going back to Chicago with a commanding lead, the Cubs and Nats are tied after last night’s tough loss.

Joe’s Notes

  • Let’s get the elephant in the room out in the open. Joe Maddon botched the bullpen usage…or did he? Listen, it’s easy to play armchair manager and say everything he should have done, but here’s what I know. Pedro Strop / Carl Edwards / Wade Davis. That’s you’re path to the end of the game this year. That’s the path Joe was on and planning to take. Say what you want about how Bryce Harper is a lefty and Ryan Zimmerman is a righty and they both homered off a pitcher of the opposite hand, but let’s be real for a minute. Do we actually think Mike Montgomery has a better chance of getting Harper out in that situation? No? Then you must be calling for Brian Duensing or Justin Wilson, right? All of them are average lefties. There is nothing special in that pen right now outside of Davis. At some point, you have to blame the players and that’s what I do. I blame Edwards and I blame Montgomery. They had a chance to execute and they failed. That’s it.
  • Everyone calling for Albert Almora in CF got their wish. I wasn’t one of them. I don’t believe in Almora and I don’t want him starting another game in this post season. Jason Heyward has experience and he should be in the lineup. The loading up on righties in the lineup meant Maddon had all lefties on the bench in a pinch hitting situation. How is that a good plan?
  • I don’t like the decision to pull Jon Lester after just 6 IP and 86 pitches. He had just gotten out of a jam and then settled down in the 6th. Given the shakiness of the pen, give the ball to Lester in the 7th instead of wasting a pinch hitter with two outs and no one in scoring position. Protect the lead you have, and part of that is making sure your horse comes back out for another inning or even two. The shorter the path to Davis, the increased odds of winning.
  • I’m excited to see Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo coming up with big hits. It seems like normally in the playoffs it’s one or the other or neither. It’s encouraging.

Look, I know it’s frustrating to have a potential lead of 2-0 going to Chicago be ripped away, but remember that now we have home field advantage. Wrigley needs to be rocking on Monday and let’s take care of business. Monday’s game is going to be huge, with Jose Quintana on the big stage against a hurting Max Scherzer. We need Q’s best. We need clutch hits. Get it done on Monday and this series is probably over for the Nats.

  • Allan Birmantas

    That is what happens when the FO decides on an economy BP. Why isn’t Rondon on the roster? He seemed to have recovered his old closer effectiveness.

    • Doc Raker

      Rondon deserves to be on the roster and we win that game if he was used. CJ does not pitch well 2 days in a row.

  • cap’n realist

    Could have and should have gotten 2 more innings out of Lester.

  • Doc Raker

    So let me get this straight Big Toe Joe, no matter what Maddon is going to use Strop, CJ and Davis in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings of a game when the Cubs have the lead. Even though we have 3 lefties in the bullpen apparently because the Nationals have trouble with lefties. One of those lefties, Wilson, has been horrible since being acquired by the Cubs while a pitcher who was left off the roster, Rondon, has pitched very well of late. And then in an inning where you have the Nationals big lefty pinch hitter come up you let CJ the righty pitch to him and you leave him in to pitch to their big power hitting lefty Harper even after having you lefty MMM warm up twice in the bullpen.

    For Christ Sake Genius Joe you got 2 lefties you trust plus Wilson, use them. I was saying before Harper hit the home run, MMM should be pitching, CJ should be removed, then boom. If CJ got Lind out and you had no one one and 2 outs then I would of left CJ in but after Lind got a hit ON AN 0-2 COUNT you can’t let him pitch to they big lefty. The pitch selection on the Lind 0-2 hit was horrible, a low fastball. That was a curve ball count if there ever was one, try the back door curve, the high fastball anything but a low fastball, lefties like low fastballs. If your set up man can’t finish off a lefty after an 0-2 count you can’t trust him to with their big power hitter up as the timing run. Just an awful and obvious mismanagement of the bullpen.

    Plus, Lester should have pitched the 7th and 8th if he got through the 7th clean.

    Plus, what the hell is Zobrist doing in the line up and being allowed to hit in inning 9? Shem called several things last night. He called Bryant getting to Gonzales second time around the order and he called Zo’s game ending double play among other things.

    The Cubs win that game if any one of us managed that game.

    • Joe Aiello

      Doc, look at Edwards numbers against lefties this year:

      .119 avg / .244 OBP / .193 SLG with 41 K’s in 110 AB’s. He made a mistake and hung a pitch. Bryce Harper is one of the best bats in the game and took advantage. I would rather have Edwards in that situation any day of the week over Montgomery and Duensing. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out.

      • Doc Raker

        Big Toe Joe, did you see CJ’s 0-2 pitch to Lind? So why do we need 3 lefties in the pen if you aren’t going to matchup with their lefties? Why Wilson and not Rondon? These roster moves and roster use don’t match up. Heck, take both Rondon and Wilson and leave off Martin.

        Like I said, if CJ got Lind out I can see leaving him in for Harper, but after not executing the 0-2 to Lind I take him out for Harper.

      • Seymour Butts

        Hind sight is very good vision, but hard not to want Edwards in the 8th. I do agree with the concept of using the bullets that are in the magazine. Would have been nice to throw a lefty at Harper… or maybe just throw AT Harper and pitch to Rondon.

      • Doc Raker

        For the record, I was texting the peanut gallery before the home run that CJ shouldn’t be facing him. I didn’t like the match up after the Lind AB. This isn’t hindsight.

        Again- please someone explain. Why do we have 3 lefties in the bullpen if they aren’t going to be used as lefty specialist?

      • Sherm

        The best available Left handed pitcher was IN THE GAME and removed for a pinch hitter. That was the crucial decision that backfired.

        Sure, Edwards can and has handled those situations. With Strop used and Rondon off the roster, Maddon played his own hand. The Nats left-right-left-right lineup worked because he HAD to let CE, Jr. TRY to get Harper otherwise he’d have to go to Davis for Zimmerman because, well, LACKEY.

        All moot now.

        I’ve heard people say that they did what they wanted – split in DC. I’m guessing that’s not true. I’m pretty sure they wanted to win them both. Now, it’s anyone’s series instead of a potential sweep…and the ability to set up the staff for the next series, which means that pulling Lester too soon now could change the course of the next series if they even make it that far. Momentum has changed as well. Nats went from “uh-oh” and the pressure…to “we can” and we’ve all seen what that can do in pro sports.

        Typing from a bar in Baton Rouge on my phone…without my glasses on – so apologize for any typos.

      • Clean! And spot on as usual.

      • Doc Raker

        Sherm should manage the team. Lester had 86 pitches when he was removed, he did have at least another inning in him. Lester was at 31 pitches through 3 innings. It doesn’t seem like Maddon accepts the advantages that are earned by his team. Your starting pitcher having 86 pitches through 6 innings is an advantage that Lester and the team earned, accept it and use it.

        Hendricks was at 62 pitches in game 7 when he was removed, not because he should of been removed but because Maddon planned on removing him for Lester. It was more about Lester being ready to pitch than Hendricks being done. Maddon ignored the advantage Hendricks earned for the team and it back fired. The team had to earn another advantage to over come Maddon’s disadvantage.

        We out played the Nationals 17 of 18 innings and we are tied at 1-1. It just frustrates me but it shouldn’t. It is just a game that doesn’t really have great meaning to my over all well being. Carry on. Thanks for letting me vent VFTB buds.

      • Joe Aiello

        I don’t feel like we’ve out played them 17 of 18. The beginning of game one, for the first six innings I thought for sure we were going to lose. We swung at everything and Strasburg had our number. I feel we were fortunate to get game one and they were the same for game 2. We came out with a split and I think we played split baseball. Game 3 tomorrow is HUGE

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        You did better than Doc, and I would assume he wore glasses if he needed them.

    • Even I called Zobrist’s game ending double play. Sherm deserves due deference but that was an easy one.

      • Doc Raker

        It sure was

  • Adam Peters

    Almora leading off was stupid.

    Zobrist being in the game was stupid. What is he batting righty, like .138?