Cubs manager Joe Maddon has heard the complaints about how often he changes his lineups, and he doesn’t care what people say, he’s not changing his ways.
“I try not to comment on it, because really it’s such a poor discussion,” Maddon told reporters Tuesday, via ESPN. “There’s no sophistication to it whatsoever. It makes zero sense. It doesn’t belong in today’s game.”
Chicago has used 28 lineups this season which is the sixth most in MLB. However, that is 28 different lineups in 33 games, tied for the fewest played so far, in part because of postponements.
The Cubs are ninth in runs scored with 165, which puts them at fifth in runs per game with 5.0. However, Chicago has failed to score at least four runs in 10 of its last 13 games which has sparked the conversation as to whether Maddon is changing his lineup too much. Chicago is 7-6 in those games.
The idea behind the complaint stems from an age-old perspective in baseball that if players are not given consistent at-bats then their timing is thrown off. It’s something Maddon doesn’t believe in.
“Honestly, it’s such a non-sophisticated conversation,” Maddon told reporters. “It really is. I don’t know how it begins. I’ve heard it from old baseball dudes. I think fathers pass it down to sons on occasion. It’s like teaching your kid how to drive a stick shift. It just gets passed along.”
Maddon has been changing his lineup almost daily since taking over as Cubs manager in 2015. Since his inaugural year with the team, the Cubs have been in the top 10 in runs scored and runs scored per game each of the last three years.
The team was 16th and 17th, respectively, in the two categories in Maddon’s first year in 2015, but in that season, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell were rookies.
Chicago may be having trouble scoring in recent games, but Maddon and team president Theo Epstein would be the first to use another old adage that has been in the game for years: that’s just baseball.
“We’ve won a lot of games the last three years,” Epstein told reporters. “Whenever we’re winning no one talks about how we’ve overcome moving guys around in the lineup. It’s only when we’re losing. It can be hard to explain sometimes. … I don’t think it’s because of how Joe has been writing lineups here.”