Stark: Why Joe Maddon bats the pitcher eighth in the Cubs lineup

From SABR member Jayson Stark at on June 4, 2015:

There are many words we could use to describe Joe Maddon, the relentlessly fascinating manager of your Chicago Cubs. But “traditionalist”? That one wouldn’t be in the top 100,000.

Has there ever been any facet of baseball — tried and commonly accepted for, like, 140 years — that Maddon couldn’t look at and ask: “Why? Are we sure about that?”

The correct answer to that, of course, is: Nope. And that brings us to the Cubs’ 2015 lineup card. Maddon has written out one of those lineup cards 51 times this season. And every day, he’s done something Herman Franks and Phil Cavaretta never even fantasized about:

Every single game of this season, the pitcher has batted eighth.

Doesn’t matter if it’s a pitcher who is 0 for the 21st century, like Jon Lester — or a pitcher with nine career homers like Travis Wood. Into that eighth slot he goes. And into that eighth slot he’ll continue to go.

And why is that? Because “I like it,” Maddon says.

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Originally published: June 4, 2015. Last Updated: June 4, 2015.