Arms Dealer: Maddon Won’t Reveal Playoff Rotation Just Yet

“At the end of the day, we’re not trying to conceal weaponry being sold to Iran.”

That was Maddon’s response Friday in Cincinnati as he channeled Oliver North when asked about plans for the playoff rotation. He said he’s known for a week or so how things are going to line up, but that he has yet to finalize anything with the front office and coaching staff. Or, it would appear, the pitchers themselves.

“What I like to do under these circumstances is talk to the players first before they have to read about it in the newspaper,” Maddon explained.

Uh, Joe, I know baseball players are old-school and all that, but are you telling me these guys still read the actual paper? Or that they have the patience to cut through all the noise and the pop-up ads on the Sun-Times site? I suppose the revealing photos of female athletes and celebrities in the ads might be a draw, though. Besides, have any of the papers really been getting into the potential playoff rotation? That’s a serious question, as I don’t comb through them all that frequently.

I can think of at least one blog that’s been refining its view on the rotation and overall playoff roster over the last few weeks. And that’s just me throwing darts at the wall, so I’m sure several of the other non-traditional outlets have covered more of the same, probably with greater accuracy. So, again, is it really possible the pitchers don’t know.

“They’re not stupid.”

Oh, totally, I agree there. There’s really no doubt that Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks are going to pitch the first two NLDS games at Wrigley, with Jake Arrieta and John Lackey taking the two road games. Given the former’s struggles down the stretch, there’s a possibility that he could find himself moved back to fourth in that order. I don’t think it’ll happen, but it’s not beyond reason. Maddon did indicate that the Cubs’ opponent in that opening round won’t have any impact on the ultimate decision.

Now, of course, it may be difficult or rusty or whatever you want to call it,” Maddon said of the nearly two-week layoff Arrieta and Lackey will face. “I don’t know. And then again, the rest might just do somebody really good. It just depends on the individual. These are the kind of things that are kind of outside of your control.”

In Arrieta’s case, I really think a little time off would do him good. He needs some time to sort of reset his mental clock and maybe get some side work in to correct some of the mechanical flaws that have dogged him down the stretch. No matter how it shakes out at the end of the day, the Cubs have got a very solid group to run out there.

“We are where we are because of our starters,” the reigning Cy Young said. “We’ve all pitched really well throughout the year. I think we’re in a situation where we should be able to enjoy that for a little while. We’ll be ready for the first round.”

I dig it, now let’s fast-forward a few days.

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