NLDS Game 2 – Bullpen Mismanagement?
Instead of going back to Chicago with a commanding lead, the Cubs and Nats are tied after last night’s tough loss.
- 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.