(CBS) From his moves in the final two games of the World Series last season to his bullpen use in Game 2 of this National League Division Series to his sixth-inning hook of left-hander Jose Quintana on Monday, Cubs manager Joe Maddon has been bombarded by questions from fans and outsiders regarding his decision-making in the crucible of the playoffs.
The second-guessing is a part of the job that every manager in the postseason encounters, but Maddon doesn’t like how so many jump to conclusions based solely on the result of one pitch without considering the process that goes into it.
“A lot of times, even if a decision doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean it was the wrong decision,” Maddon said in an interview on the Spiegel and Parkins Show on Tuesday afternoon. “And why doesn’t anybody ever give credit to the other group? I think the Washington Nationals are pretty darn good. I think their players are good, I think their pitchers are good, their managing is good, everything about them is good. So when you get defeated in a moment, that doesn’t mean it was wrong. That means the other side did something a little bit better in the moment. That part of it is rarely ever discussed. It’s always about what went wrong on this side. It’s never what went right on the other side.”
Maddon was heavily criticized for using closer Aroldis Chapman in a blowout win in Game 6 of the World Series last November, after which he didn’t have his best stuff in Game 7, a contest in which Maddon also took heat for yanking starter Kyle Hendricks in the fifth inning.
In Game 2 against the Nationals on Saturday, the Cubs lost when reliever Mike Montgomery allowed a three-run homer to Ryan Zimmerman in the eighth inning as star closer Wade Davis went unused. In Game 3 on Monday, Maddon pulled Quintana in the sixth inning as he spun a two-hitter, receiving some boos from the Wrigley Field crowd. Reliever Pedro Strop then allowed an RBI double to Zimmerman before the Cubs rallied for a 2-1 win.
“Our guys aren’t robots,” Maddon said. “It’s not fantasy baseball. It’s not fantasy football. Things happen because both sides are good, and that’s what people have to understand.”