Joe Maddon is trying to win baseball games, not make friends.
These are the kinds of calls Theo Epstein's front office envisioned when they pitched the idea of coming to Chicago to Maddon in the offseason.
The celebrity manager was at it again Wednesday night, yanking starter Jason Hammel out of the game after just 65 pitches, when he had given up only one run in 5 2/3 innings.
His last time out, Hammel threw just 76 pitches against the San Francisco Giants, and the veteran was not happy with the decision.
He wasn't any happier this time around, refusing to speak much on the matter after the game, saying he was "obviously" surprised and upset that he came out of the game.
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Maddon said he was "certain" Hammel would be upset but explained his reasoning while also reminding the media that the number of pitches doesn't matter because "it's not a 100-pitch exercise."
Maddon didn't like how Hammel matched up against Adam Lind with a runner on second and two outs, so instead of walking the Brewers first baseman, he brought in left-hander Clayton Richard from the bullpen to face the lefty Lind.
"From my perspective, where I'm sitting, it's not about being nice," Maddon said. "It's about trying to do the right thing at the right moment. I've been watching Lind all year. He's one of the scariest left-handed hitters out there right now.
"You could have chosen to walk him or 'pitch around him,' which I wasn't comfortable with that either. I thought Clayton could put the ball on the ground; he did not. ... I thought it was the right thing to do."
Hammel is a 32-year-old veteran in his 10th year in the big leagues. He has been one of the Cubs' most consistent starters all year, posting a 3.11 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 22 games.
So even catcher Miguel Montero was surprised by Maddon's quick hook.
"It caught me a little off guard there," Montero said. "But he had his plan. Obviously, Hammel threw his ball good, maybe not quite as good as I've seen him in the past.
"They were putting good swings on it. (Maddon) saw that. He saw that they were hitting the ball good. That's probably why he made that decision.
"As a player, we don't understand because we like to compete and we think we're still good and all this. But sometimes, we kinda actually step back and go, 'You know what? You were right because I didn't pitch that great.'
"He didn't pitch bad, but I've seen him better before."
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But, all's well that end's well, maybe? The Cubs did get the win, and Hammel talked about how proud he was of the way his teammates played.
However, given this is two starts in a row, Maddon knows the frustration is building for Hammel.
"I'm sure there's a statute of limitations involving something like this, and I might be, like, pressing it right now," Maddon said. "However, I really like the guy a lot; I think he's outstanding. I'm sure we'll be able to get through it.
"I want him to be upset, actually, because of his competitive side. I'm fine with that."