Cubs News

David Ross explains thought process behind crucial 7th inning decisions vs. Reds

1 year agoTony Andracki

With Monday night’s game hanging in the balance, David Ross had a tough decision to make.

Patrick Wisdom was at the plate in the top of the 7th inning with the Cubs trailing 7-6. Cody Bellinger had already walked and Trey Mancini reached on a fielder’s choice, putting runners at first and second with nobody out.

In his previous trip to the plate, Wisdom was plunked directly on the left wrist with a 93 mph fastball. After some deliberation, he ultimately stayed in the game.

Given all of that, Ross opted to have Wisdom — one of the Cubs’ top power bats — attempt to lay down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over. After working the count to 3-1, Wisdom popped the bunt up for an out and the Cubs did not score in that inning or for the rest of the game.

The following day, Ross spoke about the decisions in an interview with Marquee Sports Network’s Taylor McGregor.

“I had a pinch-hitter ready, uncertain about how [Wisdom’s] wrist felt,” Wisdom said Tuesday afternoon in Cincinnati. “Pretty bad hit by pitch the time before right on the wrist. Took some swings in the cage, felt like he could go. But then sometimes the players’ competitive nature and how they’re really feeling is a tough battle.

“Talked to the trainers, comfortable with him playing defense but a little uncertain about the bat. With first and second and nobody out and with that uncertainty, I just decided to bunt. Didn’t work out. Maybe we let him swing away and it’s a 3-run homer. Who knows? Just uncertainty about that was what led into some of my decisions.”

It was a pivotal moment in the game and in the world of social media, that meant a lot of second guessing among Cubs fans.

One of the chief questions was: Given the uncertainty with Wisdom’s wrist, why not pinch-hit for him?

Ross answered that as well, pointing to the opposing dugout.

The Reds had their left-handed specialist ready in Reiver Sanmartin, who has permitted only a .227 batting average and .661 OPS against left-handed hitters throughout his career. (For comparison, righties are hitting .325 with a .909 OPS against Sanmartin.)

After Wisdom, the Cubs had a trio of lefties coming up — Eric Hosmer, Edwin Ríos and Tucker Barnhart.

“I’m gonna have to pinch-hit for that group,” Ross said. “That’s where [Reds manager] David Bell’s gonna run to their left-handed reliever down there. I wanted to be able to sit on his neck with that and the fact I can keep Wisdom in for defense, get the runners over and still assess and keep my bench fully loaded for that inning that we actually had later on where we ran out Torrens and Gomes there and got the bases loaded.

“That was a situation I knew I was going to come across at some point. It just didn’t work out. We got bases loaded, 2 outs. Just weren’t able to come up with a big hit. Whenever I can save my bench for moments where I’m going to have to make some moves later in the game, I’m going to try to do that.”

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