Furious at Joe West, Joe Maddon loses it after Kyle Hendricks loses no-hitter for Cubs

Furious at Joe West, Joe Maddon loses it after Kyle Hendricks loses no-hitter for Cubs

ST. LOUIS — Cubs manager Joe Maddon lost it after Kyle Hendricks lost the no-hitter, feeling like umpire Joe West tried to upstage his pitcher in the ninth inning on Monday night at Busch Stadium.

Maddon didn’t want to become a distraction after getting ejected from a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals that shrunk his team’s magic number to clinch the National League Central to three — and a spectacular performance that made Hendricks look like a potential Cy Young Award winner.

[RELATED - Kerry Wood lays into Joe West on Twitter]

But on the TV replay it sure sounded like Maddon ended his nose-to-nose argument with West by saying: “F--- you!” And the normally chatty manager didn’t want to hear another follow-up question about whether “Cowboy Joe” should have had a better feel for the moment.

“Come on,” Maddon said during his postgame news conference. “Just write it. Just write it. Just write it. You guys saw it. You know what happened. I don’t need to get into any more trouble. Just write it.”

The Cubs already had closer Aroldis Chapman warming up in the bullpen when Jeremy Hazelbaker drilled an 0-2 changeup over the right-field fence for a leadoff homer that ended Hendricks’ no-hit bid.

“There was a misinterpretation there,” Maddon said. “We needed a little bit more time to get the pitcher ready based on the situation. That’s all. And I needed the catcher to go out to the mound. That’s all. That’s it. We were denied. And I didn’t like that, so I made my stand.

“I truly believe we were proper in that. It’s not about that moment. It’s about Kyle. This was Kyle’s night.”

The apparent issue involved veteran catcher Miguel Montero immediately reacting to the Hazelbaker homer by checking in on Hendricks — and then getting conflicting signals from the home-plate umpire.

[RELATED: Cubs' Joe Maddon explains the origin of his 'Try not to suck' T-shirts]

“After I went to the mound and came back, (West) tapped me on the shoulder and told me to go out (there),” Montero said. “So I’m walking out to the (mound). And then he’s like: ‘Hey, if you go out there, I’m going to count it as a visit.’

“I’m like: ‘OK, what’s going on?’ Is that possible? I don’t even know if that rule exists. It doesn’t matter, because (Kyle’s) coming out of the game already. That’s when (Maddon) came out. And after that, I’m not responsible for what happened out there.”

So Hendricks didn’t get the Hollywood ending, and this isn’t how Maddon would ever script taking the ball from a pitcher who’s becoming a bigger and bigger story for the best team in baseball.

“By that time, I’m a little bit out of breath, and I’m not even supposed to go out there, because I had been kicked out already,” Maddon said. “But that’s not going to stop me from walking out there. It was inappropriate what had happened, so I was not going to be very honorable at that particular moment. It was inappropriate.”

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The unflappable Hendricks (15-7, 2.03 ERA) stayed in character and always understands the method to Maddon’s madness.

“We were joking on the mound,” Hendricks said. “I knew he was trying to get some time to get Chapman up — (that’s just) Joe and his ways. We were laughing a little bit about it on the mound — the only way you can really relieve that situation after the homer.”

Scouting the Cubs' competition: Does Jake Arrieta transform Phillies' playoff hopes?


Scouting the Cubs' competition: Does Jake Arrieta transform Phillies' playoff hopes?

The expectations couldn't be any higher for the 2018 Chicago Cubs. 

It's 2016 all over again. The goal isn't just a trip to the playoffs or another NL pennant. It's World Series or bust for this group of North Siders.

With that, let's take a look at all of the teams that could stand in the way of the Cubs getting back to the Fall Classic:

Philadelphia Phillies

2017 record: 66-96, last place in NL East

Offseason additions: Jake Arrieta, Carlos Santana, Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek, Drew Hutchison, Will Middlebrooks

Offseason departures: Daniel Nava, Clay Buchholz, Hyun-Soo Kim, Freddy Galvis

X-factor: Odubel Herrera

Rhys Hoskins won't continue to hit homers at such a historic rate, but everything points to another very strong season for the young outfielder/first baseman.

Instead, it's Herrera who enters the season with the most questions surrounding his impact. He's penciled in as the Phillies' No. 3 hitter in his age-26 season and saw regression in 2017 in strike zone organization.

Herrera's walk rate was cut nearly in half and saw an increase in strikeouts. As a result, his on-base percentage dropped 36 points despite a batting average just 5 points lower than 2016. He did flash more power (59 extra base hits compared to 42 in '16), but he will need to correct the recent trends of patience at the plate if the Phillies are actually going to take a step forward this year.

Projected lineup

1. Cesar Hernandez - 2B
2. Carlos Santana - 1B
3. Odubel Herrera - CF
4. Rhys Hoskins - LF
5. Nick Williams - RF
6. Maikel Franco - 3B
7. Jorge Alfaro - C
8. J.P. Crawford - SS

Projected rotation

1. Aaron Nola
2. Jake Arrieta
3. Vince Velasquez
4. Nick Pivetta
5. Ben Lively


The Phillies are probably at least a year away from being legit contenders, but adding Arrieta was a huge step in that direction. This team needed more starting pitching and they got it with the second-best starter on the free agent market.

The Santana signing was curious given Philly already had Hoskins at first base, so they have to pray the kid won't miss a step adjusting to a full-time role in left field. Santana is a very good player and still only 31, so it's not a bad move at all.

The rest of the Phillies lineup features a bunch of young players beginning their post-prospect life, packed with a bunch of questions. Franco and Crawford were projected to be stars and Alfaro and Williams very well could be important pieces in the core. But 2018 will feature growing pains with a lineup featuring five players under the age of 26. 

Hernandez is one of the more underrated players in the game — a solid leadoff hitter who has turned into a very patient player. With a full season of at-bats, he and Santana could combine for over 200 walks.

The starting staff is still lacking depth, but if Velasquez can actually stay healthy for once, that would go a long way toward legitimizing this staff.

The bullpen is solid with Hector Neris set for the closer's role and veteran additions Hunter and Neshek helping bridge the gap.

Even if the Phillies don't make the postseason in 2018, their time is coming and they would be a scary team to face this summer when they're hot.

Prediction: 4th in NL East, no playoffs

Which Cubs and White Sox players are included in MLB The Show 18's player rankings?


Which Cubs and White Sox players are included in MLB The Show 18's player rankings?

MLB The Show 18 apparently is not high on too many Cubs and White Sox players entering the 2018 season.

Thursday, Playstation released the Top 10 players in MLB The Show 18 position-by-position. Of the 10 positional groups (including starting and relief pitchers), only five Chicago players are included in the Top 10 at their respecitve positions (three Cubs, two White Sox). 

Kris Bryant is highest ranked Cub and the third-best third baseman in the game with an 86 rating. Anthony Rizzo is ranked as the third-best first baseman with an overall rating of 85, while Willson Contreras is ranked as the fourth-best catcher with a rating of 83.

For the White Sox, Jose Abreu is ranked the eighth-best first baseman with an 82 rating, while Avisail Garcia (79 rating) is ranked the ninth-best right fielder. 

The Chicago player rankings are quite odd in comparison to other players ranked in the Top 10 at their various positions. For example, Jose Reyes (79 rating) is ranked as the 10th best shortstop in the game. Reyes is a .286 career hitter, but he is coming off of a season in which he hit .246 in 501 at-bats.

While Addison Russell had a down year in 2017 (.239/.304/.418), it seems safe to say that he is a better player than Reyes at this point. And even if Russell is not worthy of a Top 10 ranking, there is a case to be made for other shorstops (i.e. Zack Cozart, Brandon Crawford, Jean Segura) to be ranked above Reyes.

Similarly, Kris Bryant's 86 rating is quite low considering that he was rated 94 in MLB The Show 17. While his home run and RBI totals both decreased slightly from 2016, Bryant still put together an all-around great 2017 season. He led MLB third basemen in walks (95) and runs (111) while also producing a slash line of .295/.409/.537.

Ultimately, the ratings and overall rankings must be put into perspective. Mike Trout's rating (93) is the highest in the game, yet even he experienced a drop from his 99 rating in MLB The Show 17. 

The ratings for Bryant, Rizzo and Abreu seem low, but Nolan Arenado (90) leads all third basemen, while Joey Votto (87) is best among first basemen. Basically, the various Cubs and White Sox players are not rated too far behind the best.

Here are the complete position-by-position rankings for MLB The Show 2018: