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November 1, 2016

Joe Maddon

Cleveland, Ohio - Postgame 6

Chicago Cubs - 9, Cleveland Indians - 3

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joe Maddon.

Q. Just a couple days ago you guys are just fighting to stay alive, now you've forced a Game 7. Could you have back then imagined a better scenario?
JOE MADDON: No, I mean, Jake was really good. On his regular rest he was outstanding. We came out hitting the baseball. We looked more normal. We hit our home runs. Like I said before, I think the weather could possibly help us out. I think it actually did. I just know our hitters felt better about everything.

Our approaches were better hitting the ball out of the ballpark. Working good at-bats. Played great defense. How about Jason? The double play by Javy was incredibly good, and then Chappy to the rescue again, getting out of that inning against the middle part of their batting order. So there was a lot of good stuff that we did tonight.

Q. Back to the defense, I mean, you guys made three or four terrific plays. Even the play that Chapman made at first base, getting over there by a hair. How do you think that helps you moving forward? Because any play tomorrow in a game like that, it could make the difference.
JOE MADDON: That's what we normally do. We're used to making good defensive plays. We're also capable of spectacular defensive plays. I like making the ones you're supposed to make, and then we have such good athletes that they're able to make even better-than-that plays, i.e., the dive by Jason, and then eventually Perez trying to get into a double there in it that last at-bat.

All over the place, man, that's pretty much what we've looked like the entire season, those kind of defensive plays.

Q. I guess it's a mouthful, thoughts on why Chapman in the 7th? Why again in the 9th when it's a seven-run lead again? And do you think you imperiled his availability for especially length tomorrow by what you did tonight?
JOE MADDON: I don't think so. I mean, 7th inning there because they came up, the middle of the batting order was coming up, Lindor, Napoli, Ramirez possibly, all that stuff. So I thought the game could have been lost right there if we did not take care of it properly. Also there was a threat that we would score more runs, which we did, and just did not have enough time to get Stroppy warmed up after the two-run home run by Rizzo.

So when things happen that quickly sometimes there's a day that you could just let your guy go out there and take him out before the next hitter, but that's not part of the landscape anymore. So we had to get him ready.

So first of all, the meaty part of their batting order, if you don't get through that, there is no tomorrow. Then second of all, just trying to get Stroppy ready and have Aroldis pitch to one hitter. I think he ended up with 20 pitches, so don't think that was much more impactful than 16.

Q. Again on Chapman, were you concerned about him hurting himself on that play? And would you have gone to him if it wasn't Lindor? Was that sort of a tip of the cap to Lindor to bring him in?
JOE MADDON: It's just the middle of their batting order. There is no other way to look at that and feel good. Kipnis had himself a nice night. He gets the base hit against Monty. And then Lindor, he could hit a home run at any time, and it's much more difficult to hit it against Chapman's velocity.

So for me, the game could have been lost right there, and he's by far our most dynamic relief pitcher. I talked to him before the game once again, he was aware of the scenario. So he went out there and he was outstanding again.

Q. And you weren't worried about his ankle after he stepped on the base?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, we talked about it, but he assured us he was fine.

Q. Joe, just given the buildup, the weight, the whole length on both sides with both teams having not won, does it somehow seem appropriate to you that this has gone to a 7th game?
JOE MADDON: You're probably right. It's been a very well-contested series. Both sides have played really good baseball. They've been outstanding pitching. They've been outstanding pitching all year. All of a sudden, our offense is having a resurgence, which we need. Again, of course, of course we want to be the group that breaks the string, but you're probably right. It's just correct and apt that we'd go seven games.

Q. Obviously Addison had probably the biggest hit of the night. I mean, we could go all the way back to Spring Training, he's had that slugging as part of his game, which maybe we didn't see much last year. So I guess with the bases loaded, you probably want him up as much as anybody.
JOE MADDON: Yeah, especially when he's going good. The key to that at-bat was to not swing at the first two pitches. That's what we've been talking about the whole time. I mean, if you get over-eager right there, you're going to put that sinker in play, it's a ground ball to third base, inning over, none of this happens. But he was patient enough to get a pitch that he could work with. And that's what we're talking about with our young hitters. As they gain more experience, they'll be able to do those kind of things.

And great example tonight, Johnny Mallee spoke with him before he went up to the plate. Talked about Otero, and Addie worked a great at-bat.

Q. Jason obviously had the two big defensive plays today, but the first one he had with Jake out there, how big was that to just keeping Jake in the game and keeping the flow of it the way it was?
JOE MADDON: Yeah, of course. That definitely kept momentum away from them, which was definitely there for the taking. Great play. Again, I've seen that all year out of this guy. Everybody, we're always talking about offense, and you hear me talk a lot about defense. A lot of our wins and you talk about run differential and all that. A lot of it is attributable to great defense, and there's a lot of times you get a bump in a positive way from a great defensive play.

So did not surprise. That was a really big moment in tonight's game.

Q. So it looked like Chapman was going to finish if it stayed 7-2. Would you have had a limit on any kind of pitch for him?
JOE MADDON: I would have. I was just going to watch him. That was part of the gig before the game to put him in a pertinent moment. Then if we were able to sustain a good lead, then get him out on the back side, just like it ended up being. I think five runs -- listen, I've been at this ballpark when we were up by 7 or 9 and they came back in the last -- Cleveland has this tendency and this tradition, so I don't want that to happen.

So, yeah, I felt very comfortable that was part of the discussion before the game. Come in 7, maybe have to stop it. If we garner enough runs, then I'll take you out of the backside.

Q. Joe, any chance Lester could be used in relief for it to close things out tomorrow night?
JOE MADDON: Definitely he could be used in relief. Regarding closing, we'll see how the game plays out. But Jon will be available tomorrow.

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