By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Game 1 of the National League Championship Series featured plenty of moves for second guessers to jump on and criticize both Cubs manager Joe Maddon and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
Maddon’s decision to bring in closer Aroldis Chapman with the bases loaded and nobody out in the eighth inning failed when he allowed a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez that tied the game 3-3 after he’d struck out two batters to nearly get out of the jam unharmed.
Roberts’ move to leave righty reliever Joe Blanton in to face the left-swinging Miguel Montero backfired in the bottom half of the inning, as Montero launched a game-winning gram slam into the right-field bleacher in Chicago’s eventual 8-4 win at Wrigley Field.
Managers can put their team in a position to win with the right decision, but the players still have to execute. If the player fails at his task, the manager often wears it on the big stage.
Maddon emphasized he has no problem with the second guessing that may come his way.
“Honestly, I welcome all of it,” Maddon said. “I think it’s great. I used to hang out at (a local bar) in Hazelton (Pennsylvania). We watched the Phillies or the Orioles. The scrutiny was always relegated to the length of the bar. Now with social media being what it is, it’s international basically. I have no problem answering anybody’s question.
“I will promise you, I always have a reason. Sometimes when it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean it was wrong. It just means it did not work in the moment. You have to understand that both teams are good. You try to match up your talent against them the best you can in that moment.
“People are really watching, and I have no problem with it. If you want to scrutinize? Yes, please tune in.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.