(CBS) Cubs manager Joe Maddon on Tuesday emphasized that he maintains great confidence in right-hander reliever Carl Edwards Jr. despite his recent struggles.
After a quality first four months of the season, Edwards has had three consecutive poor outings in a row, including a debacle in a loss to the Nationals on Sunday in which he allowed four runs and the game-deciding grand slam in 2/3 innings. His ERA now sits at 3..83 ERA, and he’s struggled mightily with command, walking 22 batters in his past 24 2/3 innings.
In response to that, Maddon gave the 25-year-old Edwards the night off in a 5-3 win against the Giants on Monday. And while he’ll likely scale back on Edwards’ high-leverage use for the time being, he still envisions Edwards getting the ball in some of the biggest moments late in the season and the playoffs, should the Cubs make it there.
“The basic thing for him right now is I just want to give him a day or two off, just to regroup,” Maddon said in an interview with Danny Parkins on 670 The Score on Tuesday. “And after that, we’ll just see how the game plays out and who’s available. It’s hard to really run away from somebody if you have a limited number of resources that night and his skill set fits this part of the game. This guy pitched in the World Series successfully, so I have a ton of confidence in him. I just have to make sure that he’s feeling OK about himself. Lower-leverage, I don’t even know. It’s hard to just put him in a bad game with how good he is, but I do have to make sure that he’s feeling good about himself. I’ll just look for the right spots, either tonight or tomorrow and try to get him it, get him out. Like I said, I like to do that — when a guy is struggling at all, just really try to set him up with a couple hitters that I feel really good about him against and then not leave him out there too long, because they need to walk off the field and feel good about themselves. So that’s what I do with relief pitchers.”
Listen to Maddon’s full interview with Parkins below. He also discusses Javier Baez’s progress at the plate and the mental gymnastics it takes to fill out the lineup every day so as to keep everyone in rhythm.