Cubs' Maddon might like to see Arrieta against Cardinals

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta throws against the San Francisco Giants Tuesday during the first inning.

    Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta throws against the San Francisco Giants Tuesday during the first inning. associated press

 
By Dave Del Grande
delgrande@sportsxchange.com
Updated 8/31/2015 9:20 AM

SAN FRANCISCO -- As he prepared for the start of a six-game trip during which staff ace Jake Arrieta is scheduled to pitch twice, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon spent part of his pregame Tuesday night pondering the possibility of pitching the right-hander more.

More as in one or both of the September series against the first-place St. Louis Cardinals.

 

It was pointed out to Maddon about an hour before first pitch that if he were to stick with his current rotation, Arrieta would miss both the three-game series at St. Louis on Sept. 7-9 and the rematch in Chicago on Sept. 18-20.

On both occasions, Arrieta would pitch the first game following the Cardinals: Sept. 10 at Philadelphia and Sept. 21 at home against Milwaukee.

"I'm not one who thinks that far ahead," Maddon admitted. "I haven't talked to (pitching coach Chris Bosio) about that yet. Hmmm … guess we should."

The Cubs began play Tuesday in third place in the National League Central, 6½ games behind the first-place Cardinals and 3 back of the second-place Pittsburgh Pirates.

Moving Arrieta into position to pitch twice against the Cardinals would be easy to do.

The Cubs have an off-day Sept. 3. If Maddon were to skip Kyle Hendricks or Dan Haren in his next scheduled start after that date, it would slot Arrieta to pitch on his regular four days' rest on Sept. 9. That would put the standout in line to face the Cardinals in the finale of both series.

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Back by the bay:

The last time Joe Maddon was inside AT&T Park, he was stinging from a 16-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants in Game 5 of the 2002 World Series.

Maddon was the bench coach for California Angels manager Mike Scioscia at the time.

As Maddon walked down a flight of stairs from the AT&T Park visitors' clubhouse to the field level Tuesday, he had pleasant memories of that night despite the one-sidedness of the outcome.

"I remember standing at the top of the steps right after Game 5," Maddon said. "They had just killed us. We were going home (for Games 6 and 7, down 3-2 in the best-of-seven). I told (coach Bobby Grich), 'We're going to be all right.' And we were."

The Angels won the final two games 6-5 and 4-1 win capture the championship.

One other thing Maddon enjoyed about his return to San Francisco on Tuesday was the late start (7:15 p.m., Pacific time).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I'm a scoreboard-watcher," he said. "You get to see (results) in advance (of your game).

"I'm not going to manage any differently. I'm not going to get angry. But I enjoy it. I did it with the Angels for years."

Maddon had nothing to be angry about Tuesday night. By the time the Cubs' first batter came to the plate, the Pirates already had lost 5-2 to the Miami Marlins.

This and that:

Shortstop Addison Russell caught a late flight to San Francisco on Tuesday following the birth of his son, Aiden, and arrived on time to be available as a pinch hitter. … The Cubs announced the signings of outfielder Quintin Berry and infielder Emilio Bonifacio to minor-league deals before the game. Both were assigned to Triple-A Iowa. …

The Cubs are featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated's regional edition this week, and they will end the week playing in ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers. "It's good for our guys," manager Joe Maddon said of the spotlight, which brings with it a measure of scrutiny and pressure. "We anticipate being here this year and years to come."

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