THE CUBTOBER DIARY: Joe won’t pay no mind
CHICAGO – No pun intended, but going on Social Media can sometimes require “wading” into some tough waters.
Joe Maddon would have been best not to do so after he chose not to use his pitcher named “Wade”on Sunday night.
The Cubs manager’s call to go with John Lackey instead of his All-Star closer didn’t go over so well with fans. That was before the starter allowed the walkoff three-run homer to Justin Turner a few minutes later.
Second-guessing was combined with some frustration and anger from the fan base, who has taken issue with Maddon’s use of the bullpen in the past.
So loud were the criticisms that the first question to Maddon on Monday as his team returned to Chicago down 2-0 to the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series was about the social media reaction.
Let’s just say Joe wasn’t about to “Wade” into that.
“So I really hope that you all understand that social media doesn’t count at all. Twitter doesn’t count at all,” Maddon in reference to the social media criticism. “And really, as sportswriters, you should do a better job than relying on Twitter to write a story, quite frankly.”
Perhaps the manager was tired of going over his reasons for keeping Wade Davis off the field in the ninth inning of Game 2.
It was a question of pitch health for Wade, who went a season-long 2 1/3 innings with 44 pitches in the Cubs’ Game 5 win over Washington in the National League Division Series.
Critics be damned, Maddon says, if they have a problem with that.
“Listen, this guy just did yeoman kind of work — I love that word — in Washington, and was not prepared to go more than three outs. I don’t understand why that’s difficult to understand,” said Maddon. “And furthermore, you have to also understand it wasn’t the last game of the year or the second to the last game of the year. It was about winning eight more games.
“All these things are factors.”
Certainly the bullpen is one, at times reliable and at sometimes not. But the pitching did allow just two runs last night, so the hitting is just as much of an issue at the moment as the arms in reserve.
The Cubs have just three runs in two games that came off homers by Albert Almora Jr in Game 1 and Addison Russell in Game 2. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are just 1-for-14 combined so far.
It’s the same scenario that presented itself during last year’s NLCS against the Dodgers when the Cubs were shutout for 21-straight innings. A few wrinkles in Game 4 and the team finished with 23 runs in three-straight wins to take the pennants.
“It’s eerily similar, you’re right. And yes, I am considering one or maybe two little items,” said Maddon of making lineup tweaks before Tuesday’s Game 3 at Wrigley Field. “Their ability to match up in the latter part of the game is obvious. And part of that is just based on the fact we haven’t been able to really grab a substantial lead that would prevent that.
“So, yes. I mean, I’m looking at maybe one or two little nuance kind of things.”
Just don’t expect him to look at Twitter anytime soon.