(CBS) While standing firm in his belief that asking closer Aroldis Chapman to get a six-out save in what turned out to be an eventual Game 3 loss in the National League Divisional Series was the right move, Cubs manager Joe Maddon acknowledged Thursday that the two-inning request of Chapman in that given situation was “over the top.”
Trying to hold a 3-2 lead against the Giants on Monday, Maddon turned to Chapman with two on and nobody out in the bottom of the eighth. He allowed a two-run triple shortly after, and given Chapman’s stated preference back in the regular season to only work one inning, it has raised the question of how Chapman may be used moving forward as the Cubs prepare to start the NLCS on Saturday.
The answer to that isn’t an exact science, but Maddon seemed less inclined Thursday to ask a lot out of Chapman in an eighth inning as the postseason continues.
“In my mind’s eye, six outs was over the top, but you don’t leave him in the bullpen and lose that game without giving it your best shot in that moment,” Maddon said on the Spiegel and Goff Show. “We did, and it didn’t work out.”
Asked specifically if he’d consider using Chapman to start an eighth inning and save Hector Rondon for the ninth if a high-leverage situation or matchup called for Chapman in the eighth, Maddon pushed back at the idea.
“I don’t think so, only because they’re not wired that way,” Maddon said. “(Chapman is) wired for the ninth inning for the last three outs. I know there are different ways we can get through the eighth.”
Chapman had no problem with the eighth-inning workload Monday, but Maddon pointed out it’s not a physical issue as much as it is a mental hurdle to clear, with six outs being a lot to ask from someone accustomed to getting three. Maddon has been pleased with how Chapman has carried himself, including responding with a dominant ninth inning in an NLDS-clinching win Tuesday in which he struck out the side.
“He handled it like a pro,” Maddon said. “He came out the next night throwing 100-plus and striking out the side. So again, these are different moments man. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. That doesn’t mean it was wrong. He’s prepared to do this stuff.”
Listen to Maddon’s full interview below.