“If I Were the Manager…” World Series Finale

%22If+I+Were+the+Manager...%22+World+Series+Finale

It could only have ended like this. A combined 176 years of misery between two franchises culminating in one game, winner-take-all. The two teams even decided to play a little extra baseball in this decisive Game 7, extending a 6-6 tie into the tenth inning before an event more rare than Halley’s Comet.

The Chicago Cubs won the World Series.

108 years and 19 days in the making.

 

This story, being a self-aware continuation of my “If I Were the Manager…” series, though doesn’t focus on congratulating the best team in baseball or sending condolences to the new longest drought (now 68 years in Cleveland) in the MLB. No, I will be pointing out all of John Maddon’s and Terry Francona’s flaws in management, namely the use of their bullpens and, more specifically, Jon Lester.

To begin, John Maddon said prior to Game 7 that he did not want to start Lester in a “dirty inning.” The Cubs’ manager proceeded to bring in his No. 1 starter with two outs and a man on first in the bottom of the fifth, allowing him to surrender two runs in the inning and forcing Maddon to use closer Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning, giving him the perfect opportunity to give up the tying runs in the final inning and a third.

At the point in the game when he was replaced by Lester, Kyle Hendricks had given up two runs (only one earned) on four hits with one walk and two strikeouts. By no means was it a bad showing by Hendricks, but the belief that you have to use as many fresh arms as possible in your last game of the season prevailed.

The same thought process was used by the home team, as the Terry Francona of the Cleveland Indians did not let Corey Kluber come back out for the fifth inning after surrendering four runs on six hits without a strikeout through the first four frames. He was replaced by the usually reliable Andrew Miller who gave up two runs and got the boot in favor of closer Cody Allen with one out in the seventh inning.

Not only did neither starting pitcher reach the sixth inning, the first such time in World Series history, but both closers were established on the mound by the eighth inning. As I have said in previous articles in this series, I do not agree with the early entrances of star closers, and I’m sure the offseason rehabilitation exercises for Chapman and Allen will show that I was right.

But for now, the Chicago Cubs are the champions of Major League Baseball, and they battled back from a 3-1 deficit to earn that title. The Indians, meanwhile, are just a more consistent starting rotation away from swapping places with Chicago. And this leads me to my last final statement of the 2016 World Series.

If I were the manager, I would listen to that Jacob Lintner guy more often.


 

Think you know more than Joe Maddon and Terry Francona? Thanks for keeping up with our “If I Were the Manager” series, in which writer Jacob Lintner provided his view on a key point in each game of the 2016 World Series. Let Jacob know how you feel about his suggestions on Twitter @FHNtoday or @TheJacobLintner, and view the rest of the series here.