Cubs manager Joe Maddon knows he’s received some harsh criticism for his bullpen choices in Game 2 against the Dodgers – and he doesn’t care.
Maddon defended his decision to not use All-Star closer Wade Davis Monday and went so far as to turn the backlash on those who disagreed with him, particularly on Twitter.
“First of all, social media - the moment I start worrying about that, I really need to retire,” Maddon said at a news conference.
Social media lit up the moment John Lackey trotted out of the bullpen with a runner on second and two outs in the ninth inning of the tied game – and the outrage only grew after Justin Turner subsequently smashed a three-run walk-off homer to give Los Angeles a 2-0 series lead. [[451132303, C]]
Specifically, fans were confused and some even furious that the skipper went with veteran starter Lackey – who prior to Sunday, had never pitched on back-to-back days in his entire career – over Davis, seen warming up in the bullpen.
But Maddon stood by his choice, insisting that Davis was an option for one inning, and one inning only.
“That was all predetermined last night. Again, Wade was not warming up to come into the game. Wade was just probably testing his arm at that point,” Maddon said.
“We had talked about it before the game, up and in. For those that aren’t involved in Major League Baseball or professional baseball in general, when a guy’s thrown too much it’s very important to not dry hump him, as the saying goes: Get him up and then put him back down and then bring him back in later. So I wasn’t gonna do that,” he continued.
“Wade knew that going into the game, it was going to be with the save. We caught the lead, he’s in the game. So whatever the narrative is, it’s really a false narrative. He was not coming into that game until we grabbed the lead. He was not going to pitch more than three outs. That’s it.” [[451142723, C]]
Davis was called to the mound early against the Nationals in Game 5 of the NLDS, delivering seven outs for the save – a feat that Maddon said limited his capabilities on Sunday.
“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,” Maddon said.
“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,” he added.
And for the Twitter critics and sportswriters alike, Maddon had one final thought.
“I really hope that y’all understand that social media doesn’t count, at all. Twitter doesn’t count at all. And really, as sportswriters you should do a better job than relying on Twitter to write a story, quite frankly.”
The Cubs will face the Dodgers for Game 3 at Wrigley Field Tuesday night.