Chicago Cubs manager David Ross faces renewed expectations
Chicago Cubs manager David Ross is facing renewed expectations this season as for the first time since he took over the managerial post for the Cubs in 2020, the team has the expectation of winning at the Major League level.
Managerial mistakes will have heightened consequences for Ross this season as the team has not shied away from the postseason conversation and that is why despite it only being game 2 of the regular season on Saturday, Ross made two noticeable mistakes that were concerning.
The first mistake that Ross made on Saturday was leaving swing reliever Javier Assad in the game despite the fact that he had a fully rested bullpen after the team had a day off on Friday.
Assad pitched a scoreless seventh inning on Saturday but in the eighth inning, it was clear that the Brewers' hitters had timed Assad and were finding success. Assad allowed three runs in the eighth inning and that proved to be the deciding point of the game. While there certainly is a case to be made for Ross wanting to instill confidence in a young pitcher, it shouldn't come at the cost of the game.
The second mistake was Ross pulling Trey Mancini from the game in favor of what he believed to be a defensive upgrade in right field with utility infielder Miles Mastrobuoni.
In the eighth inning, Mastrobuoni misplayed a ball hit by Brewers' catcher William Contreras to right field where it had appeared he would have been able to make the catch with a diving effort. Instead, Mastrobuoni opted to play the ball off the hop, and that resulted in two runners scoring.
Admittedly, that is not a mistake that falls solely on Ross as it was Mastrobuoni that misplayed the ball but it was a situation that should have never occurred. While Mastrobuoni can play the outfield, he is a more natural infielder. The right decision would have been to keep Mancini in right field and that would have kept one of the Cubs' more prominent offensive threats in the lineup for a game that was still in the balance.
There is no need to get overly carried away with the second game of the season but these mistakes from Ross are something that should be monitored. If not this season, the time in which the Cubs are fully committed to contending is approaching. It will be pivotal that Ross proves that he can prove that he is more than just a bridge manager.