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October 15, 2016

Joe Maddon

Chicago, Illinois - Postgame 1

Cubs - 8, Dodgers - 4

THE MODERATOR: First question.

Q. You always tell us you like the barroom banter and all that kind of stuff. A lot of moments on both sides tonight. First could you talk about the pulling Lester and then the Chapman move again.
JOE MADDON: I just thought that tonight Jon really wasn't on top of his game. There was a chance to put add-on runs in that particular moment. You had Gonzalez, and then Ruiz had two good at-bats against him. Hernandez has already had good at-bats at him. So it was also an opportunity to get Ruiz out of the game, which eventually turned into Grandal. So you got to look at the whole big picture. So all those things were part of it. If Jon was on top of his game, I may not have done it, but I didn't think he had his best stuff tonight. So that was part of that decision. Yeah, we had no choice. I did not want to do that again, he strikes out the first two guys, and then Adrian has a great at-bat. So what are you going to do about it? You just got to move on. But give Chappy credit for keeping it at 2. Now, there's the argumentative part there where we did not lose the lead. If you don't use lose the lead right there and you have this chance to come back, which we did, give Chappy a lot of credit right there because in that moment, when you've given up two runs to tie the ball game, tendency is maybe the mental letdown. But he did not permit that to happen. So, there's all these little subplots going on constantly within that game, and obviously eventually Miggy grabs one, and that's pretty special.

Q. Were you surprised they intentionally walked the bases loaded?

Q. Talk about his at-bat?
JOE MADDON: That was the right thing to do. I didn't know how they were going to get to it. I knew when the inning began there was a chance for bases loaded and two outs and Chapman was hitting now, had we had the lead Chappy would have went up there and that would have been no big deal. But under the circumstances we had to move it along. But I probably would have done the same thing he did.

Q. Because the other two times that Chapman's been brought in before the ninth haven't really worked out so great, would you be hesitant moving forward to do that again?
JOE MADDON: No, no, no. Because it didn't work out doesn't mean it was wrong. I just rather give him a little bit cleaner look. Bases loaded, nobody out. He struck out two guys. That's pretty awesome. He strikes out Seager and Puig. Give the guy credit. And then a really good hitter gets a base hit up the middle. So, yeah, it is my fault for putting him in such a tough position. He was great. He threw the ball great. Strike throwing, velocity, everything was there. It's just really hard to do that under those circumstances. That's why I was trying to build at least one or two outs into the inning, Montgomery, good at-bat by Toles, that little softy to the other side, and then the big play was the walk. Then got a chopper to third. So there was nothing God awful that our relievers gave up. That was good hitting on the Dodgers part, and then all of a sudden you're faced with Seager. Now, this kid's good. This kid is exceptionally good. Heads up on him in a couple years, too. He's exceptional. So I did not want anybody to face him except Aroldis. That was set up from the beginning, by the way.

Q. Did you expect them to bring in the lefty for Montero?
JOE MADDON: I didn't know. I honestly didn't know. Blanton has been their guy, and Contreras was available. So was Almora. So we had a way to go on that, too. So I would think just based on the success of Blanton this year that was probably it. I didn't know what they were going to do, but we just had to be ready for either thing, like not different than what we had done in San Francisco.

Q. You had some outstanding plays in the field today. Fowler going to his left, Fowler going to his right, Rizzo, that ground ball by Puig, and then the double play at the end. Are each of those plays that you've come to expect from your guys this season?
JOE MADDON: Yes. Talked about that a lot. Every time we talk about all this other stuff, how about our defense tonight? The defense was spectacular. It was unbelievably good. And that's probably the main reason why we won that game. Of course Miggy's grand slam played into it, but we caught the ball tonight. We caught the ball. And there was several balls hit well against Jon that we did catch also. Give our defense credit, man. They showed up. And that's the part that really normally does show up on a nightly basis, is our defense. Love to watch hit. It was fabulous. What could I say? I loved it.

Q. When you had Lester bunting, was that suicide or safety?
JOE MADDON: I can't tell you that.

Q. On the play, obviously, Baez got hung up. So can you go through that, what you think, how Javier has played the whole postseason, and just stretching the single into a double?
JOE MADDON: That was a designed play on their part. They were looking for that. That was a designed play. Now, give Javy credit for what he did. One percent or less of all Major League players would have done what he did. Honestly. He's just that good on the bases. Sometimes he's going to look bad because he's going to make what appears to be a mental mistake. But he had that all plotted out. So, they thought we were going to do it, they did something, Javy reacted. I had nothing to do with that. That's purely good baseball instinct by a kid that's a baseball player. He's going to do something once in a while that's going to make you like: Javy? You know, call him into the principal's office. But then he does things like that. So you got to -- that's what I talk about, you never want to coach instinct or aggressiveness out of a baseball player. It's the worst thing you could possibly do.

Q. You spoke before the postseason about responding to adversity in games. You said it sets a team apart when you can react to it the right way. What does this win say about your team?
JOE MADDON: Two in a row now. The game in San Francisco was very similar to that in the latter part of the game. We do play nine innings hard. We do go for 27 outs. The vibe on the bench was good after we came off the field. Even though they had tied it, we did not really -- the big point there is always you never want to relinquish the lead. That's where the momentum really swings the other side. If you tie it, wonderful, obviously. I.e. the game in San Francisco. We tied it in the ninth, but we still didn't get over the top. They came back and beat us in extra innings. So all those things matter. But I'm really pleased and proud of our guys how they handled difficult situations.

Q. In your two series this postseason, both Game 1s in the balance in the 8th inning, and you guys win. How significant is that?
JOE MADDON: That's what I'm saying. We hang out -- we hang in there. We don't give up. That's -- we don't quit. We don't quit. That's what the boys yell all the time. It's something that you have to nurture. Better teams have that; that have you to have that in order to win as many games as we did. Again, I can't be more proud of our group. Everybody contributed once again. Almora didn't play today. Willson actually caught Rob Z. and Grimmer up in the bullpen. That's pretty much what you call a team victory right there.

Q. Joe, the October chess match with the other manager, how would you describe what it's like to be making those decisions, in the heat of these moments, how one move can lead to the next five moves? And when you go back to your office or go back to your room tonight, do you chew those moves over, think them through again?
JOE MADDON: Honestly, a lot of that stuff I had thought preplanned before the game. So a lot of that stuff was preplanned. You look for situations. You're looking for the right matchups. But don't know what he's going to do. That's the other thing. You know what you want to do, but you don't know what he's going to do, and then you have to be able to react. But sometimes you could force movement. Sometimes you can. And if you can, obviously that's a good thing. But, again, that was -- again, I referenced Mr. Mauch before the game: Play the game three times -- before, during, and after. Gene told me that many, many, years ago. I will tomorrow, with my cup of coffee large, a large Americano, I'll sit there and go over this whole thing again and rehash it. But you have to play it before. You have to play it before it ever occurs. And then of course the during the game, anything, anything goes. Your plans could get blown up. Right there I had no intention of having to warm up Grim and Rob Z. in the 9th inning, but we ended up having to do that. They have this ability to go back and forth in the bullpen on and among their players with -- they have so many switch hitters in that lineup it's incredible. So you have to be aware, and then which one of your pitchers are you okay with, the lefty or righty. All of those things have to be thought of in advance.

Q. K.B. just said that was some of the best television you'll ever hope to see?
JOE MADDON: K.B. said that?

Q. Yeah, he did. What is it like going those ebbs and flows inning to inning before the game is over?
JOE MADDON: Those are called growth moments, man. That's -- as we continue to move this thing along, last year was our first year together, this being our second, we hope to do this often in the future too. These are the kind of moments that you can hold on to when things get awful again. And they're going to get awful. But you could think about, well, we did this. We kept our composure. I didn't speed up my thought process. That's the most important thing, don't speed it up. Don't concede anything. You just keep doing what you've been doing, and eventually it has a chance to come back on the right side. And so, again, that, to me, that's a growth moment entirely. San Francisco was a growth moment, tonight was. Again, I have nothing to do with that. Give our guys credit.


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