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Joe Maddon says blaming slump on lineup switches a 'non-sophisticated conversation'

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have pushed back on the notion manager Joe Maddon juggles his lineup too much. On Monday, team president Theo Epstein dismissed it as a reason for any offensive struggles, and Maddon continued that theme on Tuesday.

"Honestly, it's such a non-sophisticated conversation," Maddon said before the Cubs' 4-3 win against the Miami Marlins. "It really is. I don't know how it begins. I've heard it from old baseball dudes. I think fathers pass it down to sons on occasion. It's like teaching your kid how to drive a stick shift. It just gets passed along."

Entering Tuesday's game, the Cubs had failed to score at least four runs in 10 of their previous 12 contests, sparking cries for Maddon to stick with one lineup. He has used 28 different ones so far, ranking 16th most in baseball this season, according to Elias Sports Bureau research -- though the Cubs are tied for playing the fewest games in the league.

"I try not to comment on it, because really it's such a poor discussion," Maddon stated. "There's no sophistication to it whatsoever. It makes zero sense. It doesn't belong in today's game."

Epstein added: "It's actually misinterpreted. It's out of a desire to put every player in a position to succeed."

Maddon often uses his five outfielders in a platoon situation, mixing and matching depending on the opposing pitcher and if the Cubs are playing a day game after a night contest. Additionally, the veteran manager has always used his entire roster early in the season as he has been burned by fatigued teams in the past.

"Part of the discussion I've heard over the last couple years is when you talk to [former Cub] Billy Williams and some of the other dudes that have played in the past, was the fact that they never got a day off. They felt exhausted by the time August rolled around. And that's what I witnessed when I worked for the Angels. I thought that we had, like, the worst September records ever when I was coming up as a coach."

Epstein pointed to the fact that the Cubs have won under Maddon employing the strategy and Maddon has won using it over the course of managing two different franchises.

"We've won a lot of games the last three years," Epstein said. "Whenever we're winning no one talks about how we've overcome moving guys around in the lineup. Its only when we're losing. It can be hard to explain sometimes. ... I don't think it's because of how Joe has been writing lineups here."

Maddon concurred: "It's really a boring argument. And I can't get caught up in it."