Cubs skipper Joe Maddon and pitching coach Chris Bosio joined the Davids Kap and Haugh to discuss some meaningful topics regarding the young team they are stewarding. Below, you’ll find some of the interesting highlights from that conversation, which you can listen to here …
- Chris Bosio said it was “tough to hold it [tears] back” when Arrieta man-hugged him after throwing his no-hitter Sunday night against the Dodgers. He went on to say that he knew this [no hitter] was coming and stops just short of proclaiming that the Feldman trade was the trade of the century.
- On how Arrieta got to where he is now with the Cubs, Bosio references the up and down nature of his career. Ever since Arrieta started working with Bosio, he was willing to try new and different things to figure out what would work for him personally. Most importantly, though, he became good at separating himself from the moment – good or bad – to focus on the next pitch, at bat or game.
- Bosio believes that preparation is “huge,” and there is a process he expects his pitchers to go through before every game and during every season. Although he wants all of his pitchers to be relaxed and have fun, he admits he can be particularly strict, especially if someone is not following the schedule/rules. To which I say, whatever you’re doing, keep doing it, Bosio.
- On Fernando Rodney, Bosio believes his strengths lie in his strong sinker, which he was apparently throwing at 96 MPH, and his “devastating change-up.” Bosio goes on to say that Rodney feels as though he has something to prove and that we should expect those results sooner rather than later.
- On the concern surrounding Carl Edwards Jr.’s walk rate, Bosio brings up something we must try our best to remember when scouting the MiLB stat lines: sometimes he – or the minor league coaches – have a guy working on something very specific, regardless of the in-game situation or score. The way he evaluates players, then, is not based on the results of an outing, but rather on the execution therein. Although the Cubs are doing some on-the-job development at the MLB level, Bosio hopes the players can get as much done in the minor leagues ahead of time.
- If you’re wondering what Bosio looks at instead of the box scores, he mentions evaluating the percentage of each pitch type thrown, the velocity of each pitch and the comments of the on-site coaches. This is, as you would expect, the case with hitting and defense, as well.
- Taking it a step further, he mentioned that he has his minor league relief options (like Edwards) working on getting warmed up and sitting back down, to get practice on what it’ll be like if/when he comes up and helps out of the pen. Because the Cubs are in a playoff race, there isn’t a set schedule on when every guy will pitch – the changing situations/matchups will dictate that, instead – so each pitcher has to be conditioned to be ready to go at any time. The way he talks about Edwards, by the way, implies that we will see him in the majors relatively soon. The Iowa Cubs final regular season game is on September 7. Edwards has been on the DL with a blister/callous issue.
- Here’s an interesting Bosio quote for you to overreact to: “Jon Lester might be our best at holding runners.” Before you jump to conclusions, Bosio says that variety in Lester’s timing/delivery to the plate, keeps runners off balance. Furthermore, when a guy does successfully steal a base, Lester actually becomes more successful with the current batter, because he is operating with an open base and has more freedom to execute the exact pitch he wants. Bosio acknowledges the issues with throwing to first, but indicates that is a separate problem altogether.
- Unsurprisingly, Joe Maddon doesn’t find it difficult to keep an even keel after an ugly game like Monday night’s 13-6 loss to the Reds. He knows all of his players worked extremely hard and prepared well before the game, but sometimes, that happens. Baseball.
- He was actually “surprised” that Grimm let up the two two-run home runs Monday, because, as we know, he has been outstanding this year. Travis Wood, on the other hand, just had an off night, and Maddon chalks it up to, “you can’t be good every night.”
- Maddon clearly likes Javier Baez, mentioning that he provides “tremendous” defensive ability and is a really smart baseball player. We are likely to see him at second base (like last night), third base and shortstop (where he switched to midway through last night’s game), as Maddon believes he can handle all three positions well.
- Maddon thinks the pickup of Austin Jackson was a great addition and knows he is capable of being extremely hot, as he’s seen that talent in the past.
- [Michael: in Baez, the Cubs have a guy that can and will play all across the infield; in Jackson, a guy that can and will play all across the outfield. The Cubs depth and bench – which has been limited all season long – just received an enormous upgrade.]
- Maddon closes by discussing a couple of his upcoming inner-city outreach events, which you can learn more about at cubs.com/maddon.