Cubs' Maddon comfortable with how he uses closer Davis
One of the biggest questions for a manager is how many times to get his closer - or any reliever - up in the bullpen and not use him in a game.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he didn't want to risk that with Wade Davis in the 4-1 loss to the Dodgers in Game 2 of the National League championship series Sunday. Maddon brought John Lackey into the game in the bottom of the ninth with a man on base. Lackey walked Chris Taylor before giving up a 3-run game-winning homer to Justin Turner.
Davis worked 2⅓ innings to save Game of the NLDS last Thursday.
"That was a heavy day for him the other day," Maddon said Tuesday. "Going into that last game in L.A., we talked about 1 inning only and not to get up and not put him in the game.
"If you get him up and sit him down, then you have no idea what it's going to look like. My responsibility is to him only and to the players."
Maddon said he is comfortable with how he used Davis in his warmups this year.
"If you look at the numbers this year, I thought going into the playoffs, his usage has really good, minimal in a sense," he said. "We didn't get him up, hardly at all where we didn't utilize him, and I think multiple innings just really came down to starting in Milwaukee (1⅓ innings Sept. 23) was where we began doing it. And actually what we did in Milwaukee was what everybody was clamoring for the other night.
"He just wasn't set up for it the other day. So I think he's in really good shape, actually. I don't think he could have gone the seven outs the other day if he had been overly dried up over the course of the season. He felt good, but that was above and beyond. It wasn't part of the game plan the other night."
No word yet:
Joe Maddon said he has not heard back from Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's chief baseball officer, about a possible fine for Maddon criticizing the catcher-collision rule at home plate.
Maddon was ejected from Game 1 of the NLCS after catcher Willson Contreras - on replay review - was ruled to have blocked runner Charlie Culberson's path to the plate without the ball. Culberson was called safe after the review.
"We talked," Maddon said. "We talked in L.A. That's where I'm at. That's it. We just had a nice conversation. The great thing about Mr. Torre is he's not into himself. He listens, and it's a conversation. It's not a lecture. It's really good, and he and I have a great rapport. We talked about it. I have to say what I think. I really am unable to not say what I think. That's not part of who I am.
"If I don't say what think is right, I'm not staying true to myself."
Mixed bag for starters:
The Cubs entered Tuesday without a quality start in the postseason since Game 2 of the NLDS, when Jon Lester gave up 1 run in 6 innings against the Nationals.
Since then, Cubs starters went 5⅔, 4, 4, 5 and 4⅔ innings over the next six games entering Tuesday.
Even with that, Cubs starting pitchers entered Game 3 of the NLCS with a 1.98 ERA (8 earned runs in 36.1 innings pitched) in 7 postseason games.
• Twitter: @BruceMiles2112