The Maddening Decision, Bote's Quality Defense, BP with Javy, and Other Bullets

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The Maddening Decision, Bote’s Quality Defense, BP with Javy, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

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  • For now, the only comment I’ve seen from Joe Maddon on the decision to let Pedro Strop bat last night is this, at “You saw how comfortable he was at the plate. I just didn’t anticipate — I didn’t see that coming.”
  • On that … of course, Strop actually being seriously injured as a byproduct of his at bat was a very, very low probability event. But when it is at least ONE possibility with the most important pitcher in the bullpen, it’s hard for me to accept “I didn’t see that coming” from the manager who chose to put a relief pitcher in that situation when there were other relievers available, when there was a bench bat available, and when Strop had already gotten up and down twice to pitch 1.2 innings to that point. Maddon didn’t anticipate an injury in that situation? That’s not an excuse. It’s a confirmation of the problem with that decision.
  • Even viewed solely as a baseball decision – let’s say Maddon told Strop, explicitly, to stand there and take pitches – I don’t love it. With the bases loaded and just one out, you have at least as much chance to put that baby away with a real hitter as you do having Strop close out a one-run game against the meat of the Nationals’ order when he’s already thrown 21 pitches across 1.2 innings. I know the Strop is the guy you trust. I feel it, too. But in that situation, you take your crack at adding another run (or more!), and then let someone else close it out (which Randy Rosario ultimately did anyway).
  • Strop is getting an MRI and will miss significant time. Depending on how things play out this year, the decision will forever be applied as a gloss to questions about Joe Maddon’s future that still mostly seem ridiculous. Maddon remains one of the best manager’s in baseball. But he screwed up, and it’s going to cost the Cubs big-time.
  • And if I could now just sum up the last couple weeks in a picture from last night’s game:
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
  • How about David Bote flashing the leather in left field:

  • Even if Bote’s bat settles in as a league-ish-average-ish kind of guy over the next few years, he’s still going to be a wildly valuable bench player to have, given the *quality* of his versatility. It’s not just that he can move around – the dude can really play good defense all over.
  • Heh. I enjoy the target practice:

  • I just hope the Cubs hit a lot of homers so there are plenty of stretches of 30 seconds of angry silence:

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.