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#pounditWednesday, February 1, 2023

Joe Maddon explains why he did not bring Wade Davis into Game 2

Joe Maddon

Joe Maddon gave us one of the great head-scratching decisions of the postseason when he opted not to pitch Wade Davis during a tie game on Sunday and instead let John Lackey pitch in a critical situation, which backfired.

Jon Lester started for the Chicago Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS and went 4.2 innings, allowing one run. Carl Edwards Jr. went 1.1 scoreless innings and was followed by Pedro Strop, who also threw a scoreless frame. Then came Brian Duensing, who maintained the 1-1 score until the ninth.

Duensing gave up a lead off walk in the 9th, allowed the runner to move to second on a sac bunt, and then he got a strikeout. Maddon then decided to bring in Lackey to face Chris Taylor with two outs and a runner on second in the 1-1 game. Lackey walked Taylor then gave up a walk-off shot to Justin Turner to end the game.

After the game, Maddon was faced with questions about why he didn’t bring in Davis, the team’s closer. Maddon said Davis could only pitch one inning, and they were being selective about it. Here are his comments:

Maddon also explained why he chose to have Lackey pitch in that situation.

“Because he was going to pitch the next inning too, and two righties coming up there. I liked him a lot on the first guy — Taylor — once that walk occurred, all bets are off against Turner. Nobody’s a really great matchup against Turner, so it just did not work out,” said Maddon.

Maddon is viewed as a progressive, non-traditional manager who thinks outside the box. In this situation he played things by the book by not pitching his closer during a tie game on the road. Contrarily, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had his closer Kenley Jansen pitch the top of the ninth of the tie game, which paid off. Jansen got the win.

Maddon needs to be reminded that you don’t get to a save situation if you let the other team beat one of your inferior pitchers first.

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