LA’s Dodgers arrived in Wrigley Field with a 2-0 lead over the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, having taken the first two games in Dodger Stadium. Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon talked in his pregame press conference on Monday about what he thought of all the criticism he received on social media platforms over his handling of the bullpen in Game 2, in particular, the decision to hand the ball to John Lackey with a runner on and two out in the ninth inning of a 1-1 tie only to have the veteran right-hander give up a walk and a three-run, walk-off home run while Cubs’ closer, Wade Davis, was in the bullpen.
“Doesn't matter,” Maddon said of the criticism. “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.”
Maddon was asked if, going into Game 3 down 0-2, there was anybody he’d rather have on the mound other than Kyle Hendricks.
“Listen, even the other night, the fifth game in Washington, we felt good about it,” Maddon said. “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.”
Dodgers’ skipper Dave Roberts was asked how his team was feeling with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“I think up to this point we've done everything we can to put ourselves in a good position, but there is a long way to go,” Roberts said.
“And this team, the Cubs are not going to quit fighting and competing. I think with our guys, speaking for our team, our only focus is getting three, and putting at-bats together and pitching well. So it's definitely noted how resilient that club is over there. They're going to do everything they can to win a game and we're going to do the same.”
Yu Darvish takes the mound for the Dodgers tonight opposite Hendricks in Game 3 of the NLCS.