Maddon explains why he used closer Chapman with five-run lead
Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon was not going to take any chances with a five-run lead and two outs in the seventh inning of Tuesday's World Series game six, so he called upon closer Aroldis Chapman to face Francisco Lindor with two runners on base.
Chapman, who closed out game five with an eight-out save, was able to get Lindor to ground out, but gingerly walked to the dugout after rushing to make the out on the bang-bang play at first base against the Cleveland Indians.
Even with the heavy usage less than 48 hours earlier, Chapman returned for the eighth inning and even the start of the ninth after Anthony Rizzo's homer in the top of the ninth gave the Cubs a seven-run lead.
"We just wanted to get [Pedro] Strop ready, that happened so quickly with the home run we had to get him ready," Maddon told Fox Sports after the game.
"I wanted to get him out there, but that's why [Chapman] went out there for one hitter only -- hit or walk, he was coming out of the game. "
Chapman was pulled after his 20th pitch of the game, a walk to Brandon Guyer.
He has now thrown 62 pitches in three days, but with Wednesday's all-or-nothing game seven, his usage is not likely to be impacted.
"I really anticipate a lot of the same, I really do," Maddon said about Chapman's availability for the decider. "He's a very strong young man. I'll talk to him later today and tomorrow, but I think he's going to be fine, honestly."
Maddon apparently doesn't like the matchups his relievers other than Chapman had against Lindor, Mike Napoli, and Jose Ramirez. He wanted to make sure the Indians were not going to mount a comeback.
"I brought [Chapman] in earlier because that's the part of the order he had to get out," he said. "You don't want the game to get away from you at that particular moment so it all worked out well."
Chapman will likely be joined by Cubs starters Jon Lester and John Lackey in the bullpen for Wednesday's game as the Cubs look to become the first team since the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates to overcome a 3-1 World Series deficit and win game six and seven on the road.