Chicago Cubs: Pitching rotation and bullpen familiarity mindset
The Cubs do a pretty good job at looking who they are throwing against before making decisions on pitching rotations and matchups. However, does it ever seem that they are more concerned with resting arms than playing them? It’s a good debate that will have equal points made on both sides.
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A skipper must not abuse his guys or he risks losing those weapons in his arsenal. But what good was the rest if you need a win in a best-of-five scenario? Sometimes you have to play that arm more than you want so the “team” can move ahead and look to rest them in the next series, or maybe you can’t even do that.
This is where it’s crucial to start thinking about the series in a postseason mindset. With the Brewers going with righty Brandon Woodruff, I’d have thought the Cubs tap mighty-righty-slight-of-handy Yu Darvish. Just like a chess match, you’ve got to show your guns or go home.
Instead, Ross went with his former battery mate Jon Lester. The seasoned veteran delivered, tossing six scoreless frames in a much-needed bounceback start. It was a roll of the dice, to be sure.
During the season, you get to do your experimenting, but this series certainly was not the time to try someone like Adbert Alzolay, against a Woodruff. This is what getting in the mindset is about, playing, picking, matching, choosing to get your feet wet like this three-gamer is the best of five, and you want the first three.
This also means making wise decisions with a vast bullpen. It’s time to stop the dancing and start the lancing. The bullpen should be deadly, and each choice of bringing someone in should be for killing batters and advancing.
Of course, if the boys aren’t having fun, then no one is having fun, but there is nothing more fun than winning in the postseason. That’s why Ross has got to put the next few series in perspective, starting with the rest of this Brewers series. Then he will get his chance to use the mindset for non-divisional opponents, but it all starts this weekend.
The Brewers series presents an excellent opportunity to tune-up the club and get the boys ready for a postseason run. With just 14 games left and only 12 after this series, it’s time to start now.