CHICAGO – Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he had not heard anything from Major League Baseball about his ejection from Wednesday’s fourth game of the National League Championship Series. it was his second ejection of the series.
However, Maddon did praise Jim Wolf, the home-plate umpire, for admitting he made a bad call when he ruled the Dodgers' Curtis Granderson fouled a pitch off in the eighth inning. Replays showed Granderson clearly missed the ball and that it should have been a third strike.
The Cubs came out OK after Granderson wound up striking out anyway.
“It speaks for itself,” Maddon said Thursday. “Give Jimmy Wolf a lot of credit. Give him a ton of credit for coming forth like he did. That’s awesome. Jimmy, I’ve known him for years. He’s outstanding. And I love when he’s umpiring big games. It’s just one of those moments I had to do what I did. I’m not proud of it. But I had to do it.”
Wolf told a pool reporter afterward: “After looking at it (on replay), I was dead wrong. I talked myself into the whole thing.”
Maddon said if Granderson had homered and put the Dodgers ahead, he would have run out onto the field in his jock strap. The Cubs won the game, 3-2.
“That was just hyperbole on my part,” he said. “That came to my mind, and I said it. Everybody’s so literal. It’s prose. It’s baseball prose.”
Cubs President Theo Epstein had his take on Maddon’s line when asked what he was doing at the time of the play.
“I was getting ready to take a cellphone pic of Joe in his jock strap – to use against him,” he said.
Sticking by his guys: It’s no secret that Cubs relievers Carl Edwards Jr. and Mike Montgomery haven’t performed up to par in the postseason. But each got a vote of confidence from Epstein.
“We still believe in them,” he said. “You’re talking about a very talented 26-year-old (Edwards) who we believe in. He’s a big part of what we do. He gave up 22 hits in 66 innings this year. He’s going to get the ball. We’re not afraid to give it to him. And he should get the ball. He’s had a few real rough moments this postseason but he’s going to grow from this.
“Those two guys, who have been the ones struggling this postseason, they got the three biggest outs in Cubs history last year (in Game 7 of the World Series). Both had really good years, and both finished strong. For us to win the World Series, we need to keep giving them the ball, and they need to pitch well, and I think they will.”
A good closer’s value: Maddon praised closer Wade Davis for working a two-inning save in Wednesday. Davis pitched 2⅓ innings in the final game of the division series at Washington. Maddon similarly worked closer Aroldis Chapman hard in last year’s postseason.
“What they’ve proven is when you’re on the verge of extinction how valuable they are because not everybody can handle those moments,” he said. “Not everybody like Aroldis is able to dominate. I can’t tell you necessarily that Wade has dominated, but Wade knows how to pitch to the point where he’s going to get righties and lefties out based on his pitchability.
“Chappy was more of this blunt object. He could overpower people, (and) he could do it often. There are certain guys when you get your back to the wall you could probably list those kind of pitchers out there. [The Dodgers] have got one, (Kenley) Jansen, they’ve got one over there. There’s not many of them, but those that are out there are really, really valuable.”