From Dayn Perry at CBS Sports on January 29, 2017:
We should always be wary of attributing the start of something to a single moment, but this during Game 7 of last year’s World Series felt a bit like a shifting of the dunes …
Obviously, we’d seen Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona play it aggressively with his relief ace, Andrew Miller . It’s one thing for Miller to come in early in relief of Trevor Bauer or Ryan Merritt or even a short-rested Corey Kluber in that same Game 7. In this instance, though, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon was lifting a fully rested Kyle Hendricks after just 63 pitches and 19 batters faced and having allowed only one run. As you can also see, Hendricks was staked to a four-run lead at the time, and Maddon lifted him for a pitcher — Jon Lester — who hadn’t made a relief appearance since 2007. Hendricks, it should be noted, finished third in the NL Cy Young balloting in 2016. Maddon’s unconventionality and aggressiveness are certainly understandable given that we’re talking about a winner-take-all affair. It was a jarring decision, though, and it hinted at something deep in the currents of baseball right now.
Originally published: January 30, 2017. Last Updated: January 30, 2017.