Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Cubs News

Oct. 16 Joe Maddon workout day interview

October 16, 2017

Q. You've had an enormous amount of second-guessers both on social media and wherever after last night. What do you say to them today? JOE MADDON: Doesn't matter. Listen, when you run a baseball -- first of all, social media, the moment I start worrying about that, I really need

Q. You've had an enormous amount of second-guessers both on social media and wherever after last night. What do you say to them today?
JOE MADDON: Doesn't matter. Listen, when you run a baseball -- first of all, social media, the moment I start worrying about that, I really need to retire. Second of all, that was all pre-determined last night again. Wade was not warming up to come in the game. Wade was probably just testing his arm at that point. We had talked about it before the game, up and in, for those that aren't involved in Major League Baseball and professional baseball in general, when a guy's throwing too much, it's very important to not dry hump him, as the saying goes. Get him up and put him back down and bring him back in later. So I wasn't going to do that. So Wade knew that going into the game it was going to be with the say. 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.
:: NLCS schedule and coverage ::
Q. Is he healthy?
JOE MADDON: Yes, oh, yeah. 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. 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. So I really hope that you 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.
Q. Any thoughts about any changes in your lineup for tomorrow night? Then does this seem like a similar situation to you than midway through the Championship Series last year?
JOE MADDON: It's eerily similar, you're right. And yes, I am considering one or maybe two little items. 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. But in general, this is who we are, like I said before. I have a ton of faith and trust in our guys, but if there's something we could do maybe to tweak it a little bit, we may try to do that. I haven't decided completely yet. Honestly, I'm going through discussions with different guys, just looking at some information kind of stuff. What I like to do is the night before the game, which will be tonight, obviously, I like to text out the lineups so the guys know in advance of tomorrow what's going to happen, and I'll do that later.
Q. The second part of that, last year the Championship Series you had a lot of slumping guys and a team not scoring runs at this point. Is it, as you said, eerily similar?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, it took us a bunt to get going last year, remember that. Zo bunted down the third baseline in Los Angeles, and all of a sudden, we took off after that. We need to hit a couple balls hard consecutively, I think that's what it comes down to. Then once we're able to do that, we'll gain our offensive mojo back. That's all that's going on. But even the Washington series was kind of the same. We didn't score a bunch of points there either, outside of the one game. And that wasn't just based on, you know, bludgeoning the other side offensively. A lot of close games in Washington. A lot of close games here. They got us twice, and we'll be ready to play tomorrow night.
Q. That being said (indiscernible) what are you seeing?
JOE MADDON: Honestly, the guys went through a lot in Washington. We sat on the tarmac. I'm not going to sit here and make excuses, but it was a tough couple days to go out to L.A. under those circumstances. I talked about it in my original comments out there that I'm looking forward to the day offs so the boys could get back here and regroup. I obviously wanted to win one out of those two. We didn't. That's reality. There is reality and there is fantasy. People like to tend to deal with fantasy. It's reality. So we've got to come back here and get ourselves back together. Listen, you're talking about K.B. and Riz. We're not sitting here with four teams left playing in the major leagues right now without those two guys. So none of that is lost on me. I have -- I inherited something from my dad, and that was patience. So you've got to be patient right now. You've got to keep putting the boys back out there. You keep believing in them, and eventually it comes back to you.
Q. Being down 0-2 in the series, is there anybody you'd rather have on the mound than Kyle Hendricks?
JOE MADDON: Listen, even the other night, the fifth game in Washington, we felt good about it. But we have a lot of guys on our team I have a lot of faith in. But it's nice. I mean, Kyle, with the normal rest coming back tomorrow night, he's had success against these guys in the past, especially in this building. So I feel really good about it. By tomorrow night the bullpen should be pretty much back to normalcy. So we'll see.
Q. Obviously the Dodgers' bullpen has been kind of on another level here in these playoffs. What kind of challenge does that present, and does it create kind of a sense of urgency early in games?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, they have been -- they have been really good. They are good. I think they led the National League in everything. We were like third. Like I said, they got us on at the right time, obviously. We have to regroup. We have to -- there are certain things we have to do better. I have total faith we can get to their bullpen. There are certain adjustments we have to make in order to do that. They're good. Listen, they're able to match up. Morrow, in particular, is a secret weapon out there. Maeda in the bullpen now has obviously added to it. But their closer is the lynchpin, obviously. The guy that's a little other-worldly in regards to what he's able to do, because he pitches multiple innings with minimal pitches too. That's part of his allure. So all those things are going on. We have to do a better job there. Like I said before, I have so much faith in our guys, we'll make the adjustments and we'll come back ask play tomorrow.
Q. Because the Dodgers' pitching staff has been really great strike throwers, does that mean your team has to be more aggressive at the plate? Second question, you've been here before, down 3 games to 1 and won the World Series last year. Does that register with the team?
JOE MADDON: Of course. Like I said the other day, we're young, but we're not inexperienced anymore. I was able to use the line young and inexperienced; I can't use the latter. Like I said, I know our guys -- of course we wanted to win one of those two. But we're coming back, and we won't be fazed in the sense that, oh, my God, this is a dire situation. We can't do this kind of thing. We'll be fine. We've had some tough losses before that we were able to bounce back from, and that's what I'm talking about. Listen, when you're with -- I had the privilege of being in the clubhouse and in the dugout with these guys every day. I know what they're like. I know what they feel like. I know how they respond to situations, and we'll do the same thing tomorrow. So it's a challenge, it's a great challenge, and we'll have our fans here tomorrow night. We'll be in our wonderful ballpark and see what happens.
Q. You have more experience facing Yu Darvish as a manager.
Q. What is your scouting report on him and how do you look at facing him tomorrow night?
JOE MADDON: He's good. I saw him a lot in the American League, obviously. He's very good. Scouting report, I mean, obviously without getting into detail, we know what he likes to do. Most of the times when you're able to get pitchers of that quality, two things have to occur, they're off with their command a little bit and you get them early in the game. That's normally -- because when you get guys like that settled in, it becomes increasingly difficult and more difficult to get them as the game is in progress. So that's the two things I'll be looking for. If there are any command issues and how we react in the early part of the game, because, again, if you permit them a lead at all, it's really hard to match up with them in the latter part of the game.
Q. Not just because of last night, but with John Lackey, because he's in a new situation in the bullpen, do you have to kind of like fine tune now how to use him?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, I mean, the biggest part about that is how to warm him up more than anything. He was totally ready to go last night. He had plenty of time. If you saw his stuff, he had the 92 fastball and 86 slider, which is really heavy for him. I thought his stuff was very good last night. The key was to walk to the first guy, because the second guy hits anybody. Turner has been that good this year. So trying to get through Taylor and, like I said, had we been able to do that and did not score, then John was going to pitch longer than that, and I felt good about that. Also, listen, it doesn't always work out as you plan it, but going into the game -- if it got to that point, that's where I wanted us to be.
Q. When the bats aren't going, do you manage differently early on in the game, or do you just kind of wait and figure at some point these guys are going to hit?
JOE MADDON: There are different things you can do early in the game. You saw when we didn't get the bunt down, Javy was able to get to second and then third base. Then there is the decision there with the runner on third base with less than two outs, and then Jonny hit the groundball to first. And I have so much -- Jonathan Jay's been so good at moving the baseball in the right spots right there. So that was part of the game yesterday. That was probably one of the bigger decisions to be made in that game yesterday. But there's other things to do if you have base runners to do it with, and then you have the right kind of match-ups to do it with. To just say you want to hit-and-run or you want to do this or that is, with hitters that are not normally used to doing that, you just don't all of a sudden start doing that, in other words. We just have to get back to our normal patterns, meaning, accepting our walks, organizing our strike zone, using the middle-opposite part of the field, and hopefully run into one every once in a while home run-wise. Obviously, Addison did that yesterday. But we haven't scored enough runs. I'm not denigrating the offense. These guys have been working really hard. But out of six games, 11 runs out of 6 games, that's very difficult to really put it all together under those circumstances.
Q. Aside from him not getting hits, are you seeing anything out of Javy Baez that would be, you know, showing frustration or looking like it's getting to him at all?
JOE MADDON: The one thing I loved was his walk in his first at-bat yesterday. I really thought that would play better after that. And even he hit a flyball to centerfield latter part of the game. I think, was it Morrow that he actually had a pretty good swing? The ball was hit decently to center. A lot of times that starts with the walk. I've always utilized that phrase with hitters in the past. When you're walking, you're hitting, meaning that you normally have your strike zone in order. I think when guys truly are slumping, it's because they're swinging at the pitcher's pitch consistently. Most of the time. Many times when hitters are slumping, they choose to think it's a mechanical flaw, and for me, it's more of a mental flaw. Meaning that you are not organized within your strike zone. So I really thought the walk was a good indicator of better things. I thought his at-bats after that were better, so hopefully that's the at-bat that may set it in motion in a positive direction.
Q. When you look at Jason Heyward, he's been very good in the field. He's struggled at the plate. How do you balance that when you're making out the lineup?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, you're right because he's so -- imagine, you're standing in the dugout right now in that little corner that I stand in, you look out on the field and you see Jason in right, and you see Javy at second, how good does that make you feel? And you've seen yesterday that game won have been nearly 1-1, whatever, if the defense hadn't played the defense they did. Our defense was great yesterday. Again, going back to Jason, notice how he's always in the right place on line drives to right field. He does that on his own. That's not coming from the bench. He's so aware defensively. There are certain guys, like the other day in Washington, was it Strasburg, he's hit Strasburg really well. Great at-bats against one of the best pitchers in the National League. So sometimes it's just based on your skill set how you do things versus their guy, even though he's good. And sometimes a guy that's maybe not on paper as good that might give more problems that's based on that skill set versus his. So you just try to balance that out as well as you can. But he's a winner. He's been part of winning situations from the moment he's gotten to the Big Leagues. He has an impact on everybody on that bench, on that team during the course of the game somehow, somehow. And I know we have reduced how we measure Major League Baseball players, position players, on their batting average always. Even with all the new exit velocities, and OPS's, whatever, people really respect or not respect hitters based on their batting average. Even as a young hitting instructor in the '80s. I really wanted to devalue the batting average. I used to tell my guys that all the time. Jason Heyward's a winner, man. So when you're playing a game of baseball under these circumstances and he's not out there, it doesn't feel as good.