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October 28, 2016

Joe Maddon

Chicago, Illinois - Postgame 3

Cleveland Indians - 1, Chicago Cubs - 0

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joe Maddon.

Q. In general, with the conditions being like they were tonight, wind blowing out, how surprising is a 1-0 game?
JOE MADDON: Really. Just speaks to the quality of the pitching. We've got both starters out early, but the bullpens did magnificent jobs, too. You're right. It's rare that you see those conditions, and it's a 1-0 baseball game. But that's how it works out sometimes.

I thought it was a well-played game. I thought we played great defense again tonight. We were just out of the zone way too often. We've got to get our strike zones organized offensively, and if we do, we'll be fine. Just watching some of the replay there before I came over, and a lot of our strikeouts obviously were us chasing pitches. We've got to do better than that.

Otherwise I thought we were fine. We were fine. We played a really good game of baseball, we just did not stay within our strike zones.

Q. Without commenting on either of the replay calls tonight, I'm just curious what your take on replay is and would you want to see it expanded?
JOE MADDON: Well, I do like it. I do like it. It definitely helps preventing the spike in the blood pressure, because you're just able to ask them to replay it as opposed to running out there and arguing. So I like that component of it.

There are certain parts about it that I think need to be addressed. For example, like when hovering over a bag and all of a sudden you say the guy came off the bag, something like that or the hand was above home plate, almost like breaking the plane in football, I'd like to see some adjustments, but I think overall it's wonderful.

Furthermore, I would imagine eventually you're going to see it call balls and strikes at some point. But for right now I think it does a great job. It really permits to get the call right, obviously, but I also believe there are certain components to it that may be tweaked as it exists right now.

Q. When Crisp came up to pinch-hit in that situation, what did you think your option --

Q. When Crisp came up to pinch-hit --
JOE MADDON: Oh, Coco, yeah.

Q. What did you think your options were, and why did you decide to do what you did?
JOE MADDON: It was either CJ versus him or Montgomery versus Guyer, that's it. And just talking it through, we liked that match-up. That's it. We liked it. So it's one or the other. You have to pick your poison right there. It just didn't work out. But that's what we knew, and we chose that and he got a hit.

Q. Joe, what is your level of confidence for tomorrow with Lackey going for you guys?
JOE MADDON: I'm very confident. I really anticipate John's going to pitch well tomorrow. I know he's going to be prepared for it. Like I said, I think in the pregame, he's come out relatively early in the last two, so I know that he's well and strong. I think that his arm's been properly given the time to get better from his injury earlier this season. So I'm very confident in John tomorrow.

Q. I'm sure you have a lot of respect for Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw but to see Miller out of the game after six, is that like a good feeling?
JOE MADDON: That's a good ol' National League right there. That's much more difficult to really elongate a pitching performance unless you have a significant lead, then you can just let him hit in that moment.

But, yeah, they did their thing. They all came and pitched. I liked a lot of the match-ups. We just, like I said, from our perspective, we got out of the zone way too much. We've got to get our strike zone organized again for tomorrow night's game.

I thought our guys were ready to play tonight. They had a good vibe about them. We just failed to stay within our strike zones.

Q. Joe, following up on that one more time. With Tomlin, did you see him adjust and maybe start going out of the zone more for chases once you noticed maybe that the strike zone being the issue?
JOE MADDON: That's his MO. His MO is to start early with the breaking ball strike and then not to throw breaking ball strike after that. We just have to choose to not swing. And we knew that going into it. But it's one thing to talk about it, it's another thing to actually do it.

There's a lot going on out there. Our guys have done a wonderful job all year. We'll learn from tonight, come back, and be ready to play tomorrow. We were in the same situation versus the Dodgers a couple days ago. So I know that's not going to really bother our players too much.

Q. Your shutout combination that first game with Kluber and he's there, albeit on short rest, what did you learn from that first time against him that may help you in Game 4?
JOE MADDON: Well, the guys got to see him. They don't get to see him that often. The guys got to see him, so there won't be as much of a surprise the next time he pitches. You have to -- i.e. Kershaw, the first game he pitched here, extremely sharp with everything. The next game we saw him not as sharp. So you just don't know. It's difficult for pitchers to replicate time after time, especially against the same team, especially with shorter rest to be as sharp. But he may be. Not that it's an advantage, only in the sense that we have seen him relatively just a couple days ago.

So hopefully that works to our advantage. But you've got to wait until the game's actually played to find out how sharp he is.

Q. Even before the 9th, Javier Baez had a couple chances to impact the game and didn't come through. Just kind of what did you see? What are you seeing from him?
JOE MADDON: Again, he's been really -- the first two series he's done a really good job of, again, staying in the strike zone. It's really not complicated. I don't remember what that commercial is, but it's not that complicated. But if we do a better job of staying in our zones and not chasing -- we were doing a really good job the first two series we got into it. Especially when we got into the latter part of San Francisco, I thought we did a really nice job of get back in our zones against the Dodgers, we did. And I thought tonight we got away from it a little bit.

I thought maybe the first game here with all the hoopla going on, it may have had somewhat of an impact for our young guys. But I have all the confidence in the world we'll fix it by tomorrow and work better at-bats.

Q. As powerful as your lineup is, how much of a surprise is it to see them get not just held down but shut out twice in the three games?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, it's, of course, you don't anticipate or expect that, but this time of the year you see good pitching. That's what it is. When you get to the latter part of the season, you have to beat the best to be best. We have seen good pitching, and I guess I did mention it in the pregame, that's the one component of our team that's going to blossom over the next couple years is the offensive side.

I think what you're seeing on defense and arm strengths and base-running abilities, that's going to be pretty much static. But the part that's going to keep getting better is what we're doing at the plate.

So this is a great experience for us. We're seeing good pitching, we have to adjust to it.

Q. It was a pretty electric atmosphere, just completely amazing.

Q. But was it too much for some of your guys, particularly the young ones making the strike zone too big?
JOE MADDON: Honestly, no. I really don't believe so. Tomlin was really on top of his game, and the three relievers you saw did the same thing to Toronto, which is a pretty good offensive ballclub.

It's just one of those things. We're capable of making the adjustments necessary, and we've got to do that moving forward. I don't think it was the residue of our guys being overwhelmed by the situation at all. I thought our guys -- evidenced by how well we played defense, we had great awareness on defense, so the minds are working good, we just chased a little bit.

Q. You've always been one of the more aggressive managers around as far as using pinch-hitters. So it's not like it's anything new for you. But how big of a challenge is it in this series here to find the perfect spot in which to use Schwarber?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, earlier on in the game they had every opportunity to walk him and not pitch to him. Right there the better match-up, according to our work, is even Shaw over Allen, and I just wanted to get him out there. There was no guarantees that we're going to get to the bottom part of the batting order.

Furthermore, we just wanted to grab the lead there somehow and not even worry about it. Just get Chappy in the game. So it is. It's just you've got to wash down their bullpen. It's nice that the bullpens are on the field, and you can see what's going on pretty quickly. But it is a challenge to try to get them into that real sweet spot in order to come through.

Even though there was nobody on base there and that 1-0 game, he's already in scoring position. And if he were to get on, we were going to pinch-run and run it there with the top of the order coming up, which is also a good part of it.

But, yeah, just got to really pay attention to it. He was ready the whole game, man. He was ready.

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