Chicago Cubs: A method to the Maddoness?
How can one explain the constant shifting of guys in and out of the lineup, even changing the batting order itself on a daily basis? I wager several factors are at-play. First, analytics and match ups. The amount of data available to a manager about opponents and player performance far exceeds what we all have at our fingertips as fans. Maddon develops lineups based on pitching matchups and an array of other factors.
Second, the Cubs have a deep bench and you need to keep players sharp and engaged. That means they have to get into games more than fans might like. Maddon ensures they see live action in situations and games that look promising.
Finally, Chicago still plays more day games than any other team in baseball because of the city’s rules around night games on weekends. This creates scheduling anomalies no other team deals with, such as playing an away night game on Thursday before coming home to a Friday day game.
The 2018 Cubs didn’t go deep into the postseason. There is a lot of blame to go around, from the front office, to the skipper and the players themselves.
But despite all the things working against them: a wildly inconsistent offense, injuries to half a dozen key players that cost Maddon 40 percent of his starting rotation, the MVP third baseman, your closer (twice) and a late August and September schedule that was just bizarre, Joe Maddon guided his team to yet another 90-plus win campaign.
I’d call that his best work yet.