The long drought is over and citizens of Cubs Nation the world over can rejoice. As a baseball fan, I always hope for a seven game series and this, in my humble opinion, was one of the best (though not as good over all as the 1991 Braves-Twins epic). Game seven was certainly one to remember. The only problem with a World Series like this one is that one team has to lose. It almost doesn’t seem fair.
All that said, I do have some questions that collectively could fairly be termed a rant. 1 – why did Maddon put Chapman in for 2+ innings in game 6 when they had a five run lead? 2 – why did he pull Hendricks so quickly in game 7?
Now I’ll drop the pretense. I see no benefit to putting Chapman into game 6 – he wasn’t needed. Doing that sent the message to the rest of the bullpen that they can’t be trusted to protect a five run lead. It also gave the Indians another, longer good look at him, and throughout games 5-7, Maddon knew he was (he hoped) managing a seven game series. And he also must know that big league hitters adjust – they can, as the Indians demonstrated in game 7, catch up to 100+ mph fast balls and hit them out of the park. Chapman was out of gas in game 7, but if he’d only pitched the 9th, maybe that would have worked.
My real beef is Maddon’s pulling of Hendricks. He had pitched masterfully, but just as soon as he walked a batter (with two out) on a very questionable call by the home plate umpire, Maddon hooked him. Maddon, like too many others, is in love with velocity. Hendricks doesn’t have it – he just gets guys out and managed to record the lowest ERA in the NL this year. What happened? Lester came in and gave up two runs! Hendricks would not have done that.
Yes, Maddon won, but he was lucky.
So much for the rant. It was a wonderful series and I can’t wait till next year.