Presented By Cubs Insiders

If something could be both shocking and still completely expected at once, this is that situation.

Somehow, some way, there are certain factions of the baseball world up in arms about how often position players are pitching in today's game.

Those people were particularly unhappy when Joe Maddon used Cubs backup catcher Victor Caratini for 3 outs and Anthony Rizzo for a batter Monday night. It was the second time in five games (four days) Maddon dipped into his well of position players to take the mound.

When asked if he's heard anything from these naysayers about the use of position players, Maddon pounced:

"I have not and for those that may have said that, let me just inform you about this: People that want to say that do not understand the interconnectedness of the day," Maddon said. "Today's Tuesday. Tuesday could absolutely be won or lost based on Monday.

"If I used one of our better guys yesterday in a game that was not really going anywhere vs. Steve Carlton reincarnated and then we get into a crucial moment today and then either [Steve] Cishek or [Pedro] Strop or [Carl] Edwards is not available because of that, that's the wrong thing to do.

"Relax, folks. It's a baseball game. It is not life or death. I want people to understand that. It's a typical perfect example of it is a game and so I think people that say things like that don't really understand how each day is connected. Yesterday was connected to Saturday, most specifically. Having to come out of the break and having to play five games in four days and the day-night doubleheader impacted Monday's game.


"Whether or not you want to understand that, believe it or not, it doesn't really matter. It's true. And we're not crying, because that's the way the schedule was set up. But yesterday's game was definitely impacted by what had happened prior to that.

"But I did not want today's game to be negatively impacted by a really bad process or method on my part to bring somebody in to emilerate somebody's perception of what it should look like."

Got all that?

Maddon's point is completely valid. 

Typically, when a team is down 7-1 late in a ballgame and haven't been able to muster up much offense against the opposing pitcher (in this case, Patrick Corbin, or "Steve Carlton reincarnated"), the guy that ends the game is the "mop-up" reliever, or the last guy in the bullpen.

In Monday's case, because of the doubleheader Saturday, the Cubs' "mop-up" guy was Luke Farrell, who was forced to start the game. And it's because Farrell was only able to get 10 outs the Cubs were even in a situation to potentially tax their bullpen.

There's the argument that it could be a big injury risk for Maddon to run out position players who are not used to facing live hitters, but he's thought all of that through before deploying this strategy.

That's exactly why Rizzo had never pitched until Monday night, despite years and years of petitioning Maddon to get out on the mound and strut his stuff.

It's not so much about a guy blowing out his arm, but Maddon and the Cubs were worried about a guy getting hit with a comebacker or ending up really sore after going through a throwing motion they're not used to.

That's why he limited how many outs he used Caratini, Tommy La Stella and Ian Happ for Friday and had the same thought Monday.

Monday night could've been just another loss for the Cubs. But instead, with Rizzo finally getting on the mound and throwing two pitches, it became a fun story.

"It played really well," Maddon said. "It's good theater. I've heard from more fans walking around and at The Score today and just driving in, how much they enjoyed that moment yesterday.

"And sometimes we forget about it. Our fans are so into the Cubs and just the enjoyment of the game of baseball itself and its purest moment — having the first baseman, All-Star caliber guy pitch — was very entertaining to them.

"And I get that and I'm happy to be a part of that. But again, yes, the injury component does bother the back of my mind a little bit."