Chicago Cubs: Worst to First
If you’re the president of baseball operations, like Theo Epstein for the Cubs, you wouldn’t want anyone else behind the wheel other than Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon. This is where Maddon’s genius and ability to walk-thru the entire game on paper and in his mind becomes so valuable to the organization. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like Maddon enjoys working like this as reported by Forbes contributor Phil Rogers, but he has no choice when his hands are tied by missing personnel:
"Maddon sighs when he’s asked about managing his bullpen without Strop. “You have to save somebody for that moment,’’ he said. “In advance you start looking at their lineup — here’s the seventh inning, here’s the eighth, here’s the ninth. If things go well, maybe four hitters that inning, maybe four hitters that inning, who’s the best guy for the last three outs, maybe four hitters? “It’’ll be all the guys, it’ll be everybody. It’ll be (Steve) Cishek, it’ll be (Brad) Brach, it’ll be (Brandon) Kintzler, it’ll be Carl (Edwards), it’ll be Kyle Ryan. I think (Mike) Montgomery’s capable. (Tyler) Chatwood, I’m really curious about this too. If Chatty goes out there and pounds the strike zone, there’s a lot that he can do good for us. It’s wide open. It is the wild, wild West.’’"
Amidst all of this chaos, Maddon is managing a strong-performing Chicago Cubs team that stands in the lead in their Division. Don’t think this hasn’t gotten everyone, and I mean everyone, spooked. Any manager will tell you that the way to win championships is managing (winning) with injuries.
The character of a team can be determined in the way they battle adversity, and the Cubs have had (and continue to have) a lot of difficulty in their short season so far which means this could be another championship team. So where is the help for Maddon as he continues to piece together pitching lineups to win?