Joe Maddon defends decision to use Aroldis Chapman with five-run lead

Joe Maddon’s decision to bring closer Aroldis Chapman into Tuesday’s Game 6 in the seventh inning with the Cubs up by five runs left many observers scratching their heads. After the game, Maddon explained his rationale. 

Maddon brought Chapman in with two out and two on in the seventh to face Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, the third hitter in the lineup. 

“That’s the part of the order he had to get out,” Maddon told Tom Verducci after the game. “You do not want the game to get away from you at that particular moment.”

“I thought the game could have been lost right there if we did not take care of it properly,” he added in his postgame press conference.

Chapman got Lindor to ground out to end the inning and faced just three batters in the eighth inning. In the top of the ninth, Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer to extend Chicago’s lead to seven. At that point, Maddon said he felt comfortable pulling Chapman from the game but needed to get Pedro Strop warmed up on short notice. Chapman issued a leadoff walk to Brandon Guyer and was relieved by Strop.

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“That happened so quickly with the home run,” Maddon said. “I wanted to get [Strop] out there but that’s why [Chapman] went out there for one hitter only.”

Chapman threw a total of 20 pitches in 1 1/3 innings and Maddon said he does not anticipate Chapman will be limited in Wednesday’s Game 7. 

Chapman earned an eight-out save in Game 5 on Sunday, the longest outing of his major league career. 

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