Chicago Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Sept. 26, 2016.
By Brendan Kuty
It got the job done. The Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years.
“Personally, I don’t agree with the way he used me, but he is the manager and he has the strategy,” Chapman said in a conference call with reporters on Friday morning, his first public comments since signing with the Yankees last week.
“My job is to be ready, to be ready to pitch, however that is, however many innings that is, I need to be ready for that. I need to go in and do my job.”
Chapman, who got a five-year, $86-million deal from New York, pitched in five games of the seven-game tilt with the Indians. The 27-year-old lefty — the game’s hardest thrower — saw his results and his fastball diminish as the seres wore on.
Chapman said he never talked to Maddon about the issue.
“I never told him about my opinion the way he was using me,” Chapman said. The way i feel — as baseball players, we’re warriors, our job is to do what we need to do on the field.”
Chapman said he particularly had a problem with Maddon using him in Game 6.
With the Cubs ahead, 7-2, and very likely to force a Game 7, Maddon brought in Chapman with two outs in the seventh inning.
Chapman ended up throwing 20 pitches over 1 1/3 innings, giving up his first earned run of the series just two days after a Herculean effort in Game 5: 2 2/3 innings, 36 pitches.
“There were a couple games — one can pony out to was game 6,” he said. “The game, it was open. He brought me in. I don’t think I needed to come in that day. … The important game was going to be Game 7.”
Chapman did end up pitching in the series finale. Though the Cubs won, Chapman actually blew the save, giving up three hits — including a dramatic two-run home run to Rajai Davis in the eighth inning — and throwing a total of 35 pitches.
Chapman said he’d “learn from all that.”
“You take the experience,” he said. “Now it’s a matter of preparing yourself mentally, physically.”