The recent baseball postseason cooked up a few questionable bullpen decisions along the way, some more costly than others. (Zach Britton is probably still in the bullpen, waiting to come in.)
Now, in the aftermath of the Cubs winning the World Series, former Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman felt he was being misused by his manager, Joe Maddon.
“Personally, I don’t agree with the way he used me, but he is the manager and he has the strategy,” Chapman said during a conference call with Yankees media. “My job is to be ready, to be ready to pitch, however that is, however many innings that is, I need to be ready for that. I need to go in and do my job.”
Chapman especially felt like Game 6 was mishandled. The Cubs had a 7 run lead heading into the ninth inning, yet Maddon left Chapman in to start the frame after he’d already pitched an inning and a third.
“The game was open and I don’t think he needed to [leave] me in the ninth,” Chapman explained. “The important game was going to be Game 7 because we had that game almost won. The next day I came in tired.”
Chapman entered Game 7 with the Cubs leading the Indians, 6-3, but the fatigue was evident right off the bat, somewhat literally.Brandon Guyer ripped a double off Chapman to quickly cut the lead to two runs, and then Rajai Davis lined a game-tying two-run home run to left field to tie the game at 6-6 heading to the ninth inning. Maddon then left Chapman in for the ninth in a tie game, despite his obvious fatigue and reduced effectiveness. He very easily could have given up a walk-off then, as well, yet Maddon seemed willing to leave him out there regardless.
In New York, Chapman is hoping his new manager, Joe Girardi, will manage him a little better.
“If I’m healthy, I’m going to go out there and pitch,” Chapman said. “If I’m tired, I’m going to put that aside and just get through it. It is kind of like a warrior, they send you somewhere and you have to go there and your mentality is you have to go there and do your job.”
It all worked out in the end for the Cubs, and indeed considering his history of domestic violence, some fans are probably happy Chapman wasn’t the pitcher who will be appearing in highlight videos for decades to come.