Maddon sees advantage in Cleveland with Schwarber back in line-up
Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon is relishing the opportunity to have designated slugger Kyle Schwarber back for game six of the MLB World Series.
Schwarber has not been cleared to play defence after tearing two ligaments in his knee during the first week of the regular season, but he proved in games one and two that he can still hit.
The 23-year-old has not played since game two but heading into Tuesday's trip to Cleveland, with the Cubs trailing the Indians 3-2, Maddon told reporters: "The fact that Kyle cannot play defense but can still [hit] and run the bases, [switching back to a designated hitter] does work out well for us and I'm very excited about writing his name in [Tuesday]."
Maddon continued: "When I managed in the American League I thought it was a bit of a disadvantage traveling to the National League, dropping an offensive player.
"And it's probably even more pronounced for teams that have really legitimate designated hitters.
"I'm a much bigger fan of the National League game in general, but under these circumstances right now, I'll take that extra hitter just to get Schwarber involved."
The Cubs lived to see another day on Sunday after beating the Indians 3-2 in game five, but it was an angst-riddled game that left all of Chicago holding its breath.
Maddon decided to let his team rest a day before traveling back to Cleveland for what he hopes will be two more games in the series.
Reigning NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta will start game six, and Maddon feels pretty confident in his ace.
"Having Jake pitch tomorrow, we feel really good about that," Maddon said.
"The plus is Jake's starting and a really rested bullpen puts us in better shape for the latter part of the game."
Everyone in Chicago's bullpen will be rested because Aroldis Chapman completed an eight-out save on Sunday after the Indians started applying pressure.
Maddon said he will talk to Chapman before game six, but he thinks his flamethrower will be available.
"[Chapman] is a pretty strong guy and I don't think we have overused him to this point, and I'm talking about the latter part of the season as well as the playoffs," Maddon said.
"He's been in for little dabs, not the lengthy stretch you saw [Sunday]. I will sit down with him [Tuesday] and listen to what she has to say."