(CBS) Cubs manager Joe Maddon indicated his team is highly unlikely to intentionally walk or obviously pitch around Nationals star outfielder Bryce Harper in their National League Division Series, as Chicago memorably did often in a 2016 regular-season series between the teams.
Maddon cited the strength of the rest of the Nationals’ lineup, particularly second baseman Daniel Murphy, who often bats behind Harper. Murphy hit .322 with 23 homers, 93 RBIs and a .928 OPS this season. Ryan Zimmerman helps protect Harper as well, and he hit .303 with 36 homers, 108 RBIs and a .930 OPS.
“That moment in time was different than the present,” Maddon said on the Spiegel and Parkins Show on 670 The Score on Tuesday afternoon. “Plus, he’s coming off an injury. I have no idea where he is physically right now. Any time Daniel Murphy is hitting behind anybody, you don’t walk the guy in front of him … and Zimmerman’s in a much better place this year. That’s not even been a concern of mine to this point. We’ll look at that when it occurs, and we haven’t even discussed it. Honestly, the fact that Bryce has been out so long, I don’t know if you want to give him that same treatment right now or not.”
The Cubs walked Harper 13 times across four days in May 2016, which set the record for the most walks in a four-game series. Four of those 13 walks were intentional, and most of the others were for practical purposes if not officially.