Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon went to his bench during the seventh inning of the NL Wild Card Game on Tuesday night, utilizing two pinch hitters. But the big question that stood out to many was why he chose to pinch hit Jason Heyward instead of Kyle Schwarber with the bases loaded and two outs in a 1-0 game.
Neither Schwarber nor Heyward was successful this season as a pinch hitter. Heyward was 1-for-5 with a walk and a strikeout, while Schwarber was 0-for-9 with four walks and two strikeouts.
Maddon went with Heyward against Colorado Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino with the bases loaded, and Heyward struck out to end the inning.
Going with Heyward, who was .270/.335/.395 in the regular season over Schwarber, who was .238/.356/.467 and is by all accounts the better overall hitter, led to many reactions on Twitter.
And Maddon out thinks himself again. Heyward??? With Schwarber available? Are you kidding me? He's been so bad since he arrived in free agency, so why give him a chance to kill the @Cubs season? #stupid#NLWildCard
Maddon may have felt that Heyward made more sense in that spot because he would still be needed to play defense, which he does much better than Schwarber, and that he could still give Schwarber a pinch hit at-bat later in the game.
Still, in a spot that big in a 1-0 game, I think you have to go with your best bat, and that is Schwarber.
Monday’s tiebreaker game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs was so exciting that even the home plate umpire had trouble keeping track of the count.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth emphatically rang up Jason Heyward for the last out of the inning. While you have to appreciate the enthusiasm in such a big game, there was one problem — the strike was only the second of the at-bat.
Heyward’s reaction said it all, and it looked like Culbreth was able to have a laugh at his own expense. Heyward sent the next pitch to the warning track in right, coming up just a few feet short of the perfect ending to the at-bat. It’s been a long season for everyone, so you can’t blame Culbreth for briefly getting swept up in the buzz surrounding Game 163.
Unlike other major sports, MLB players who sign big contracts have a rare combination of guaranteed financial security and no league-imposed limit on their earning potential. NBA and NHL contracts are guaranteed, but limited by the salary cap in place. The NFL takes it one step further and doesn’t always offer those guarantees, while also limiting teams with a salary cap. In MLB, not only is the money guaranteed, but there’s only a luxury tax on excessive spending. That means teams sometimes hand out really bad contracts.
The contracts are great for the player, and good for them for getting such a deal, but from a team’s standpoint, the deals can turn out to be the opposite of advantageous.Here are the ten worst contracts in the sport right now, at least from a team perspective.
10) Jason Heyward, Cubs
The Cubs won a World Series with Heyward in the fold, and he still plays high-level defense. Alas, the Cubs owe him another $106 million through 2023, and they probably weren’t planning on paying it to a guy whose primary appeal is his outfield skills. Since joining Chicago in what looked to be the prime of his career, Heyward has hit .253 with just 25 home runs. Of course, to long-suffering Cub fans, maybe that famous team meeting/speech was worth $184 million.
Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward experienced his first concussion recently, and it’s not something he wants to deal with ever again.
Heyward admitted that the head injury was “scary” upon returning Friday from the seven-day concussion DL.
“It made a believer out of me,” Heyward said, via Jesse Rogers of ESPN. “Not that I wasn’t a believer before. You feel for anyone that goes through it. That stuff is scary. You don’t feel like yourself, and you don’t see anything wrong with you physically, but there is something that’s not right.”
Heyward hit his head against the wall on May 6, which led to the head injury. The symptoms came and went, but were too much to ignore, even once he was eligible to come off the disabled list.
“Day three, I woke up and I was like, ‘OK, I feel good,’ then I got to the field, and it was not anywhere near normal,” Heyward recounted. “It was frustrating. There were days where I was sad, down, but it was good to be around the guys.”
Jason Heyward took a lot of heat for his struggles during the postseason, but he stepped up for the Chicago Cubs in a critical situation.
After Game 7 of the World Series resumed from a rain delay to start the 10th, the Cubs came out and scored two runs to take an 8-6 lead, and they won the game 8-7. Anthony Rizzo says Heyward played a valuable part in adjusting the Cubs’ focus.
“Honestly, we just got together. Jason Heyward called a meeting — only the players,” Rizzo told FOX’s Ken Rosenthal after the win. “And we rallied together. We rallied strong. We knew we could do this. And we pulled together, and the boys believed. And we won.”
Heyward hit just .230 in the regular season, and he had just five hits and one RBI in the postseason, while going 0-for-5 in Game 7. But apparently he brought some much-needed leadership to the Cubs at a critical time, and it helped them win the World Series.
“I just had to remind them who they were,” Heyward told FOX’s Tom Verducci. “I just had to remind everybody who we are. Who these guys are and what we overcame to get here. Win or lose — we never worry about that. We just worry about going out and having fun and not taking the situation for granted. I just had to remind them of that. I’m proud of these guys.”
If Heyward’s meeting helped the team win it all, then it doesn’t really matter if he hit .094 in the playoffs, because it all came together for a championship in the end.
San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner and Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward had an uncomfortable exchange on Thursday, but it turned out to be a mere misunderstanding.
Bumgarner struck Heyward out on a nasty cut fastball in the top of the fourth that the home plate umpire felt caught the inside corner. The left-hander didn’t do anything to show Heyward up, but it looked like Heyward stared him down while walking away.
It looked like he was upset with him,” Bumgarner said. “There’s only one reason he could be doing that.”
The clear inference: Fowler was trying to relay pitch signs – and doing a poor job of it. And that’s not exactly going to engender a friendly response from an opponent, is it?
“No, it’s not,” Bumgarner said. “They might want to be a little more discreet about that if you’re going to do that kind of thing.”
Pump the brakes, says Heyward. After the game, he told reporters he was merely asking Fowler if the pitch looked like a strike from his perspective.
“He made a great pitch on me, a front-door cutter, and I’m all, ‘Hey Dex, what’ve you got? Ball or strike?'” Heyward explained. “I wasn’t trying to show anybody up, and all the sudden Buster Posey is in front of me. I’ve been playing against that batter since 2008, in the minor leagues. They play the game the right way. It was a misunderstanding.
“There’s no tipping of signs. Believe it or not. It wasn’t going on, especially in a spring training game. … It didn’t look good, but I mean, this is what people pay to see, right?”
If this was a regular season game, you might be inclined to think Heyward was lying. But stealing signs during a spring training game? That type of stuff typically creates controversy in situations that are more like this.
It may only be spring training, but that isn’t stopping Madison Bumgarner from bringing his usual intensity to the mound.
Bumgarner got into it with new Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward during a spring training game on Thursday. Bumgarner struck out Heyward looking on a cutter in the top of the fourth. After the strikeout, Bumgarner saw Heyward glance down to teammate Dexter Fowler at second, prompting the pitcher to bark at Heyward: