Joe Maddon made it clear Friday what kind of additions he’d like when rosters expand Sept. 1.
“It’s the speed, the bullpen, the catcher, and to be able to give guys a break in a bad game,” Maddon said.
Though Maddon said he didn’t want to bring too many players up, he understands the value of September additions. And the Cubs certainly could benefit from some extra players to fill various roles.
“You don’t want to bring too many guys up, normally. But when you get in the position that we’re getting into right now, a couple things have to be factored in,” Maddon said. “Speed has to be factored in, that’s one thing. Bullpen has to be factored in. Catching has to be factored in, to make sure that you’re covered in all these areas.
“You may get a little bit heavy sometimes, based on the fact you’re in the hunt, and you want to be covered.”
That also means resting players, either to start or during games.
“The other point that I’m very much about is that if it’s a bad game, to get your regular people off their feet. You have to be covered to get guys off their feet,” Maddon said. “And in a good game, where you blow them out in a good way, to get your regular guys off their feet and get somebody else out there to give them that break that they need. Those are the things that I look at.”
Maddon also wouldn’t be against some kind of roster limits after Sept. 1. Games can get extra long and dragged out during the final month as teams use every player they can to get the best from every situation.
Maddon has seen that from both sides, and said “it’s really annoying when you’re in it and you’re playing somebody that’s not and they can do that to you.”
“I think that there can be consideration given to, you can have 40 guys in your clubhouse but you can only designate so many guys active for that particular day, because now you’re playing for probably the most important time of the year and just keeping track mentally in the course of a game of all the permutations possible for the other side to you, it can be difficult. Very difficult,” Maddon said. “I think that has been considered or discussed to some extent to this point. I’m OK with that if that were to happen, something like that.
“Some kind of limitation because it gets kind of crazy, and it could work to your disadvantage. It could work to your advantage, of course it can, but it could also work to your disadvantage.”
Setting the lineup
Maddon has shown a propensity for tinkering and changing the lineup when needed. Save for flipping Miguel Montero and Jorge Soler that hasn’t been necessary much recently, so he’s sticking to what’s working.
“I’m all about trying to figure things out and try to make them work if something different is necessary,” Maddon said. “The way our guys stack up, or the particular talents of our group, I like the way it plays.”
That’s been made easier by all the right-handed pitching the Cubs have faced, which continued Friday as they opposed the Braves’ Shelby Miller. Per usual, Dexter Fowler led off, followed by Kyle Schwarber and Chris Coghlan.
All three have the potential to get on base for Anthony Rizzo, which of course Maddon likes.
“Against a right-handed pitcher, there’s no real reason to move things around,” Maddon said.
Kris Bryant ended the seventh when he grounded into a fielder’s choice to third. The ball grazed off Bryant’s left foot but the umpires didn’t see it, keeping the play alive.
More importantly, it was the latest painful moment for the Cubs rookie.
“I’ve fouled three balls off my foot the last couple days,” Bryant said. “It doesn’t feel too good when you do that.”
Bryant, who was lifted Thursday, stayed in the game.
Jason Motte threw an inning of scoreless relief to earn his eighth win of the season. That ties him with Jon Lester, and makes him the first Cubs reliever to win that many since Jeff Samardzija in 2011.
“He was yelling about it,” Kyle Hendricks said. “He’s done unreal all year. He’s come in after me a lot of times and kept the score right there, so he definitely deserves it.”
Miguel Montero jokingly added the Cubs “might convert him as a starter next year.”
Adding to the legacy
The Cubs announced Friday that Toyota has been added as a legacy partner. The deal includes putting Toyota’s logo on a panel beneath the Wrigley Field marquee, and other visibility around the ballpark.
Toyota also had signage above the left-field bleachers prior to the installation of one of the video boards.