Posted on December 17, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
One day after former Cubs and current New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman had some rather pointed words for Chicago manager Joe Maddon, the Cubs skipper was able to respond, standing by his actions during the World Series. Chapman claimed there were games last season when he shouldn’t have been used, most notably Game 6 of the World Series. Chapman believes that fatigue after being overused in Game 6 led him to give up a game-tying home run in Game 7. Of course, the Cubs went on to win Game 7 and the World Series, prompting Maddon to say he wouldn’t do anything differently.
“Would I do it differently? No,” Maddon said when asked about Chapman’s criticism of him. “There is no Game 7 without winning Game 6. And there is no Game 8 if you don’t win Game 7. That’s why you do what you have to do.”
Chapman’s biggest complaint, however, was not that he was used in Game 6, but that he was sent to the mound to start the 9th inning with the cubs leading by seven runs after he had already thrown 20 pitches. The lefty says he didn’t say anything to Maddon at the time because it’s not his place to question the decisions of the manager. “My job is to be ready, to be ready to pitch, however that is, however many innings that is, I need to be ready for that. I need to go in and do my job,” Chapman said during a conference call when his new contract with the Yankees became official.
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Maddon admitted the day after Game 6 that he should have had a pitcher ready to come in for Chapman in the event the Cubs extended their lead, which is exactly what happened after an Anthony Rizzo home run. He reiterated that error on Friday in response to Chapman’s comments. “The part I screwed up with I didn’t have someone warming up in the ninth once Rizzo hit the home run,” Maddon said. “But there is no next game, there is no tomorrow and you are not going to lose that game in a very weird way by not utilizing your best reliever.”
With his comments, Chapman implied that Game 6 wasn’t the only time he disagreed with how Maddon used him. However, Maddon says that wasn’t the case. “Every game I put him in, I talked to him and his interpreter to make sure that he was OK because this season he did not like pitching multiple innings so we stopped doing it,” Maddon explained. “So I talked to him about if we did that in the playoffs, how would he feel about that and he said he was fine with that.”
Chapman ended up throwing more than one inning five times during the playoffs, with four of those games coming in the World Series, including a heroic 2.2 innings in Game 5 with the Cubs protecting a one-run lead. Maddon maintains that he had permission from Chapman to use him every time he went in a game. The skipper also praised Chapman for the important role he played in the Cubs winning the World Series.
“At the end of the day, man, we would not have won without him, and I appreciate everything he did. But I promise everything we did do, we did with his consent by talking to him prior to the game,” Maddon said. Whether or not Chapman will have a rebuttal for Maddon remains to be seen. With Maddon still in Chicago and Chapman returning to the Yankees, it seems that the player and his former manager will just have to agree to disagree.