(CBS) Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. allowed an eighth-inning moonshot homer to Nationals star outfielder Bryce Harper in Game 2 on Saturday that, at least for a few days, helped change the complexion of the National League Division Series.
In the aftermath of that, manager Joe Maddon’s confidence didn’t waver a bit. Maddon sent Edwards back out in the eighth inning of Game 3 on Monday, and he worked a one-two-three inning that included a strikeout of Harper to help the Cubs earn a 2-1 win.
Moving forward, Maddon indicated he likes Edwards in his usual eighth-inning role but is will to use him in the sixth inning if needed. Whatever the case, Maddon wants Edwards in the high-leverage situations, facing the Nationals’ best batters.
Maddon has no intention of using lefty reliever Justin Wilson, who struggled down the stretch, to match up with the lefty-swinging Harper or Daniel Murphy in a big spot if Edwards is rested.
“Why would I run away from C.J.?” Maddon said on the Spiegel and Parkins Show on 670 The Score on Tuesday afternoon ahead of Game 4. “If your guy is rested and well, why would you not utilize him? If he’s not rested, he’s not well, then you go to plan B. So C.J. being rested and well, that’s his slot, that’s been his slot all year. Why would I choose to do anything differently?”
Maddon didn’t sound inclined to use Wilson in a situation of importance. Wilson had a 5.09 ERA in 23 appearances with the Cubs after being acquired from the Tigers in a deadline deal.
“If your guys are rested, the tried-and-true method, you’re going to stay with that,” Maddon said.
“Justin came over, had he been nailing it down — I can’t disagree with that — like he had been, you’d probably consider it more strongly. But why would you walk away from the formula that has gotten you to this point?”