Cubs

Joe Maddon defends bullpen use amid criticism from Cubs fans

Joe Maddon defends bullpen use amid criticism from Cubs fans

Cubs fans criticizing manager Joe Maddon’s bullpen decisions is nothing new. Maddon has received flak regarding his bullpen use for much of his Cubs tenure, dating back to 2016 over his use of Aroldis Chapman in the World Series.

The latest criticism stems from Maddon’s bullpen use on Friday against the Brewers, when he inserted Pedro Strop into a 2-1 game in the bottom of the eighth inning. Strop, who has struggled in July (seven earned runs, 12 hits in nine innings), allowed two inherited runs to score, giving the Brewers a 3-2 lead – the game’s eventual final score.

In an interview with 670 The Score on Tuesday, Maddon defended how he’s used his bullpen as of late.

"Fans, again, they have this really ridiculous concept about bullpens and bullpen management," Maddon said on the Laurence Holmes Show. "They have no idea really what all goes into it. At the end of the day, you can make a decision that may be the absolute proper and right thing to do, but it doesn't work out and then it's perceived as being wrong.

“That's a really bad process. Again, we talk about the bullpen before the game. We set up our guys against their guys before the game ever begins. Sometimes it doesn't work. It's not going to be perfect every time."

Fans also expressed displeasure when Maddon pulled starter Jon Lester on Saturday after seven shutout innings on Saturday. The Brewers scored twice in the eighth to tie the game, with the Cubs needing four relievers to get out of the inning. Milwaukee later scored three times in 10th inning, scoring a walk-off 5-3 win.

To Maddon’s defense, the Brewers’ eighth inning and 10th inning runs were charged to Steve Cishek and Craig Kimbrel, respectively, two of the Cubs’ most reliable relievers. Maddon put his team in position to succeed, but it just didn’t work out, which he noted.

“So, you set it up beforehand. You try to put your guys in the best possible spot. When it doesn't work out, that doesn't mean it was wrong. It means it didn't work out in that moment. And that's called baseball."

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Yu Darvish's GQ magazine history only makes Cubs' ace more likable

Yu Darvish's GQ magazine history only makes Cubs' ace more likable

Yu Darvish is the Cubs' ace, a social media wiz and fan favorite. After a disastrous debut season in Chicago, he put together an impressive 2019 second half that has people bullish on his 2020 prospects — whenever the season may comemence.

Here's a couple notes you may not have known about the veteran right-hander:

1. Darvish pitched for Japan in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Big league players don’t participate in the quadrennial event because it occurs in the thick of the MLB season. Darvish was able to compete because he was still pitching in Japan’s NPB league.

2. Darvish’s father, Farsad, is Iranian, and his mother, Ikuyo, is Japanese. They met at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., where Farsad played soccer. Farsad encouraged him to play soccer, but Yu preferred baseball.

3. In 2007, Darvish established the “Darvish Yu Water Fund” in collaboration with the Japan Water Forum. The project’s mission is to provide clean water to developing countries.

4. In 2012, Darvish was named the GQ Man of the Year in Japan. The magazine also billed him as the “Elvis of Japan” in 2010. 

Ace, humanitarian and GQ cover model. What's not to like about this guy?

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Cubs Talk Podcast: Did the Cubs have the greatest game 7 of all time?

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Did the Cubs have the greatest game 7 of all time?

The 2016 Cubs World Series win was as epic a game 7 as any, but was it the greatest game 7 ever? Host David Kaplan is joined by NBCS Cubs insider Gordon Wittenmyer as they debate the Cubs World Series win.

(1:50) - Is it an overreaction to say the Cubs World Series win was a great game?

(5:45) - Does the importance of the Cubs winning make it the greatest ever?

(8:20) - Comparisons to other game 7s across sports

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast

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Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.