As the Cubs wrapped up their homestand with consecutive losses to the Rockies, manager Joe Maddon could take solace in the fact that things could look a lot worse for his team, despite the circumstances.
The circumstances include scoring three runs or fewer in each of the last eight games and new pitcher Yu Darvish’s continued struggles.
“I don’t get too wound up on anything,” said Maddon, pointing to the early date on the baseball calendar. “I’m just happy we’re in the position we’re in right now.”
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Despite having a problem scoring runs, the Cubs won five of those eight games.
“And we haven’t hit for a week,” Maddon said. “So there’s a silver lining.”
They were tied for first place in the National League Central until their 11-2 loss Wednesday. And heading into the series opener in St. Louis on Friday, they’re 16-12, despite early-season adversity that included short-term injuries to Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist and Kris Bryant.
But you should see the other guys in the league that were supposed to be pennant favorites. The NL West-favored Dodgers and NL East-favorite Nationals are fourth in their respective divisions with losing records.
“I know the Dodgers are absolutely banged up,” Maddon said of the team that just lost All-Star shortstop Corey Seager to a season-ending elbow injury. “And so are the Nationals.
“If they’re playing full gorilla and they’re having that kind of issue, that’s different. But when you’re not, then you know that as you get people well, you’ve just got to keep your head above water.”
Could it be a race to see if Darvish and the Cubs’ bats get well before the Dodgers and Nats? And what about the hot-starting Mets and Diamondbacks?
Maddon remembers well how deep the Cubs were buried at the break last year before surging into October.
“I think last year, what we did in the second half was a perfect example,” he said. “It’s way too early for me to get excited or diminished.”