Coppola: “Mad Man Maddon” and the NLCS and ALCS

When Jose Bautista struck out on a 3-2 pitch to end the third inning Saturday in Cleveland, the Indians pitching staff mowed down the next 18 out of 19 batters in issuing one walk and striking out 13. Matter of fact, the only hits Toronto got were a total of three over the first three innings. Wow! And then there is Andrew Miller who was once again used in the seventh and eighth innings facing the minimum of six batters and striking out five.

His post season record this year is now a mind boggling four games, 7.2 innings, no runs and hitless innings with a whopping 17 strikeouts. Holy smokes! You know that saying “When you’re hot, your’re hot.” Well Miller is the blazing inferno right now. If The Indians win this American League Championship Series, he is the easy choice for MVP. I see them winning in six games only because Toronto is so hard to beat at home. They will see Indians ace Cory Kluber one game in Toronto and he will be tough to beat.

But my hat goes off to Terry Francona again in finding a plan for winning and sticking to it. Don’t expect to see Miller in the middle innings every game. He is still in my opinion the best closer in baseball today and Francona will also use him in that role when he needs to. Francona’s baseball instinct plus his creativity and experience make him the most dangerous person in uniform on the field for opposing teams.

A World Series between Cleveland and the Cubs this year? It has the makings of one of the best ever. Baseball fans you could see a classic.

The only fly in the soup is “Mad Man” Joe Maddon. Why is he using Aroldis Chapman in the 8th inning again? He is not the same type of pitcher as Andrew Miller and is groomed to close a game in the last inning with a lead. Maddon seems to be trying to replicate Francona’s moves and now twice it has backfired on him as Chapman gave up the tying runs with two- out in the 8th.

Maddon needs to allow his players to win the game. We see they are very capable of doing just that as they took advantage of a hanging slider and hanging meatball curve for two home runs to retake the lead in the bottom of the eighth. One a grand slam by pinch hitter Miguel Montero and a solo shot by Dexter Fowler that my six- year old granddaughter could of hit.

Joe Blanton was throwing batting practice. The Cubs are that good and Joe “Mad Man” needs to put his ego aside and stop messing with what he has. And that is a special group of ballplayers primed for a championship run.

Joe, stay in the dugout and read a book or something. He runs the risk of making unnecessary moves that will cost his team a crucial win in this series or the World Series. He got lucky Saturday night as his team found a way to win in spite of his over managing.

Editor’s Note: William Coppola just completed his 40th year in the game of baseball. He has been a coach, instructor and last week completed his third season as an associate advanced scout with the Atlanta Braves organization.

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