The Chicago Cubs have battled back from a 3-1 deficit in the World Series to even the series at 3-3 and force a pivotal game seven in Cleveland. A big part of the Cubs comeback in this series is the dominance of closer Aroldis Chapman, who manager Joe Maddon has relied heavily upon.
Between games five and six Chapman has totaled four innings of work with 62 pitches. For a reliever these are relaitvely high numbers, but Maddon is not looking to risk blowing any leads in the World Series and wants his best reliever on the mound in clutch times.
Up five runs, Maddon inserted Chapman into game six on Tuesday night and received criticism for putting extra work on his reliever with a comfortable lead. Maddon defends his decision and wanted to protect his lead with the pitcher he has the most confidence in for these pressured situations.
“It was just the middle of their batting order. There was just no other way to look at that and feel good, man,” said Maddon. “That could have been the ballgame right there. I thought the game could have been lost right there if we did not take care of it properly.”
Chapman is not worried about the amount of pitches he has thrown and will be ready if called upon in the winner takes all game seven.
“I don’t worry about a few extra pitches,”said Chapman. “I have all the strength and mentality to pitch in this scenario. I’m ready for [Game 7] 100 percent. It’s the last game of the season. You cannot save anything. Time to leave it all on the field.”
Chapman has surely had a lot of work in these past two games, but in pressured situations Maddon and any other general manager would pick the pitcher they felt most confident in. If the Cubs are able to finish off the comeback in game seven, fans will surely be glad of the decisions by Maddon and Chapman’s usage.