Maddon: Not using Chapman in 8th ‘would have been the mistake’
SAN FRANCISCO – Even after sleeping on it, Cubs manager Joe Maddon didn’t second-guess his decision to bring closer Aroldis Chapman into Monday night’s Game 3 with two on and nobody out in the eighth inning, with a one-run lead.
“To have the game go away and not utilize him there, to at least try, to me that would have been the mistake,” the manager said of the moment that turned into a blown save in an eventual 13-inning loss.
But that doesn’t mean he’ll be so quick to bring the All-Star closer in with men on base, or in the eighth inning, next time around.
“It just depends,” said Maddon, who recalled Chapman’s first blown save with the Cubs after an eighth-inning call, July 30.
It was the second time that week Maddon called on Chapman for a would-be four-out save, after which Chapman told media he wasn’t as comfortable with that as a ninth-inning save situation.
Maddon backed off extending the closer at that point, but in recent weeks put it back on the table for the playoffs. Chapman said he was told to expect it, was ready for it, and didn’t have a problem being used that way Monday.
“It just wasn’t my night,” he said in Spanish through an interpreter.
The big thing Maddon seemed to have trouble getting his mind around afterward was how left-handed hitting Conor Gillespie got on top of that 101-mph fastball in the eighth to drive it to the deepest part of the park for the big hit.
“That was the anomaly moment,” said Maddon, who doesn’t seem ready to abandon Chapman as a potential eighth-inning weapon.
“As long as he’s well rested and it appears to be the right thing to do in that moment,” he said, “I don’t think we could walk away from it.”
Hendricks forearm “perfect”
Right-hander Kyle Hendricks, who left his Game 2 start in the fourth inning after being struck on the forearm by a line drive, threw on the side before Tuesday’s game 4 and fared well.
“Good to go,” Hendricks said, smiling, as he finished throwing. “Perfect.”
Maddon said before the game that could put Hendricks in play if the Cubs wound up in an all-hands-on-deck scenario in a Game 5 Thursday.
Call to arms?
The way Monday’s 13-inning game played out in San Francisco might influence whether the Cubs keep a 12th pitcher on a National League Championship Series roster, Maddon said.
“There might be more of a need to include one more pitcher in the next series,” said Maddon of the best-of-seven round that includes the middle three games played on consecutive days.
The Cubs had only one man left in their seven-man bullpen by the time Monday’s 13-inning game finished – and that was with Mike Montgomery pitching the final four-plus innings.
“We talked about this exact scenario before we even did this [round’s roster],” Maddon said. “So it could [influence the next round].”
Notes: Home runs by Travis Wood and Jake Arrieta in Games 2 and 3 made the Cubs the first team since the 1924 Giants to have two pitchers hit home runs in a postseason series. … He didn’t get the decision Monday, but Cubs starter Arrieta remained unbeaten in seven starts in the state of California over the past two years when he handed a 3-2 lead to the bullpen (6-0, 0.53 ERA, 51 innings). … The Cubs bullpen didn’t allow a run to the Giants in nine-plus meetings this year until Monday’s eighth inning.