CHICAGO – Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant did not play Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels.
Bryant has been slumping, but manager Joe Maddon said the decision to give Bryant a break had nothing to do with him being in a 7-for-36 (.194) skid over his previous nine games. Bryant hasn’t homered since opening day, March 28, in Texas.
“This is part of the three-days-in-advance lineups, and today was his day,” Maddon said. “That’s it.”
One of Maddon’s new approaches this year has been to communicate lineups to players a series in advance instead of a day in advance.
“I just want to be proactive,” he said. “Of course, it’s not going great for him right now. So maybe the day (off) is going to help him a little bit. I want these guys to know proactively. I want to give them days off regardless of the day, regardless of the day before it being good or bad. This is how it’s going to be set up so they don’t get into that trap of thinking, ‘I’m not playing today because I had a bad day before,’ although they never consider when, ‘I’ve had a bad day before, I am playing the next day.’ That never meets the logic.
“I’m kind of liking this, actually, from my perspective.”
Maddon said he talked with Bryant Friday and that Bryant is “in a good place” mentally despite the slump.
Weather or not: Weather permitting, right-hander Tyler Chatwood will start Sunday’s series finale. He is taking the rotation spot of lefty Jon Lester, who is on the injured list with a hamstring injury.
The weather forecast is for low temperatures and a rain/snow/sleet mix. If the game is postponed, it’s possible the Cubs will skip Chatwood and go to Yu Darvish on Monday night in Miami.
“We have talked about that a little bit,” Maddon said. “We haven’t concluded yet. There’s ways that we don’t have to start him if in fact he doesn’t start, if the weather’s bad tomorrow. We’ve discussed both possibilities. We haven’t concluded anything yet.”
Chatwood lost his job in the rotation last year because of poor command. In four relief appearances this year, he is 0-0 with a 6.00 ERA and a WHIP of 1.83. He has given up six hits and five walks in six innings pitched.
Maddon was asked what he’s expecting.
“I’m expecting good,” he said. “He gets off kilter for a pitch or two, he’s better able to adjust and get back in the zone. He’s been outstanding. He’s been throwing up to 96 (mph). His curve has been snapping. He’s got a nice little cutter. He’s worked the changeup in there.
“He’s feeling pretty good about himself. So this could be really a boon to him and to us, just getting him out there. “