PHILADELPHIA -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon isn’t worried about where his team plays a potential wild-card game, just who’s on the mound for it.
“It comes down to the two starting pitchers on that particular day,” Maddon said on Friday afternoon. “I’m not concerned either way.”
The Cubs are 2.5 games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates for the No. 1 wild-card spot in the National League going into the weekend. While Maddon would like to play a home game for the fans, if the Cubs end up playing in Pittsburgh or somewhere else, he has experience on his side. Maddon’s Tampa Bay Rays won a wild-card game on the road in Cleveland in 2013.
“We had to win Sunday in Toronto just to get in,” Maddon said.
In fact, the Rays won Sunday in Toronto that year, then Monday in Texas in a tiebreaker game before beating Cleveland on the road. So Maddon isn’t fazed by it. He was asked if playing away from home might be a good thing as there would undoubtedly be fewer distractions.
“It’s possible,” Maddon said. “I don’t apply myself there that much.”
In other words, none of it matters to him -- except for the starting pitchers.
Sunday starter: As Maddon indicated after Thursday’s rainout, the Cubs will use several pitchers to get through Sunday’s contest in order to have their main guys ready for the upcoming series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“They have a lot of balance in their lineup so it’s not like you (have) to start a righty or lefty,” Maddon said. “We’ll just have to play it through and then see who’s available on Sunday and try to match it up.”
Maddon mentioned Travis Wood, Clayton Richard, Trevor Cahill and Carl Edwards as possible candidates to start the game but they wouldn’t go more than two or three innings. Even having been a starter in the past, a pitcher who’s been relieving all year can’t come in and throw upward of 100 pitches, so Maddon will mix and match after seeing how much he uses his bullpen in the first three games of the series. Jon Lester and Jason Hammel will start in the doubleheader against the Pirates on Tuesday.
“I just want to play the next three,” Maddon said. “After the game (Saturday) night, we’ll see what we can do.”
Incidentally, Maddon indicated that if there were any chance of starting and stopping their game on Thursday night that eventually was rained out, he considered not starting Jake Arrieta as not to waste him due to a long delay.
“If there was any concern, we may have done that,” he said.
Soler to Myrtle Beach: Due to rain and various start times, the Cubs haven’t taken batting practice in quite a while, so Jorge Soler was sent to Class-A Myrtle Beach for a rehab assignment. They’re the only Cubs minor league team left playing in the postseason, so Soler will play on Friday night then Sunday if Myrtle Beach advances in the playoffs. There’s a good chance he’ll rejoin the team in Pittsburgh next week. He’s missed 16 games going into the weekend with an oblique injury suffered throwing a ball from the outfield.