Joe Maddon Had a Reasonable Explanation for Pitching to Paul Goldschmidt and Other Bullets

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Joe Maddon Had a Reasonable Explanation for Pitching to Paul Goldschmidt and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

joe maddon speaksLike Luke in the Minor League Daily this morning, I’m going to avoid Kyle Schwarber discussion in the Bullets – there’s a ton to still get into on that front, so I’ll be discussing it separately.

For now, other Bullet stuff …

  • The biggest story in last night’s game was probably the decision to have Pedro Strop pitch to Paul Goldschmidt with two outs in the 8th inning and the tying run on third base. It was one of those moves that folks were griping about before the bad thing even happened – you can’t let Goldschmidt, one of the best hitters in the game – beat you in that situation, and then, because the bad thing actually did happen, the griping got much louder. I was not in favor of pitching to Goldschmidt there, but I won’t complain too loudly about it, because Joe Maddon’s primary explanation ( – he liked the matchup of Strop’s slider against Goldschmidt – is actually fairly reasonable. Strop’s slider is literally one of the best pitches in baseball, and Goldschmidt is a career .228 hitter (.397 slugging) against sliders, his worst numbers by far against any kind of pitch that he sees regularly (good Lord, never give him a four-seam fastball: .329 batting average, .621 slugging!). Would I still have preferred to see Goldschmidt walked, and then Travis Wood – who was ready – come in to face David Peralta? Yup. But I think Maddon’s explanation here, after studying the numbers a bit, is pretty reasonable.
  • … the problem was that the at bat ended on a fastball, even with two strikes. That was not the plan, and that’s where the thing went off the rails. I’d imagine that the pitch selection there is going to be discussed for next time.
  • (Also: it didn’t help that the second pitch in the at bat was called a ball despite being pretty clearly in the zone. But it’s too early in the season to start yelling about balls and strikes. (Right?))
  • Watching the game-winning hit again, I can’t help but notice that Jorge Soler, who was playing super deep (that’s been the coaches’ advice for him, though in that situation – two outs, winning run on second – I really question it), probably could have made a play on that ball, especially with a better break. Soler didn’t get tested out there in left all night, and I’m certainly not going to say that’s a ball he *should* have caught – it would have involved a dive either way – but it was close. Thing is, you’ve got a split second to decided whether to go all out for the catch or try to make a quick play and throw to home. With two outs and a runner going, it’s a tough play, but Soler has a cannon (and an on-line throw might’ve gotten him). I can’t blame Soler for his decision. I can wish he’d gotten a better break and been positioned in a little more closely, though.
  • If you missed it earlier this morning, I also talked about the Cubs’ baserunning gaffe, which may have cost them a run or more.
  • New Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is in the middle of controversy after pulling rooking Ross Stripling in the 8th inning of a no-hitter against the Giants. Stripling had just reached 100 pitches and walked a batter, bringing the tying run to the plate. At the time, I actually found the decision pretty reasonable, given the game situation and Stripling’s relative youth (the 100 pitches were a career high at any level). Unfortunately for Roberts, the very next batter homered to tie the game, and the Giants later walked off. A perfect storm of horrible for Roberts, who’s going to be hated by many Dodgers fans for a while for that one. And Stripling will probably always wonder what might have been.
  • The Pirates are still undefeated after a late Starling Marte grand slam brought them from behind to beat the Reds. The Cardinals also won their first game of the year, coming from behind to beat the Braves. As I told: yesterday was perfectly awful, from end to end, even in the little ways. Today is another day.
  • Amazon’s Fire TV is 15% off today, if you’ve been looking for a streaming player.
  • Munenori Kawasaki is in the house with the Cubs for now, and already doing things:

  • Whoa. Like. A. Boss:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.