clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Road-wary Cubs win again at home as brass makes ‘huge priority’ of planning road repairs

After losing all three series on their just-concluded trip, the Cubs beat the Brewers 6-2 in the opener of a six-game homestand Friday.

Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs
Willson Contreras congratulates teammate Javy Baez after Baez’s two-run homer in Friday’s third inning.
Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Of course, the Cubs won with apparent ease as soon as they returned home Friday from another nightmarish road trip.

‘‘It’s our fans,’’ shortstop Javy Baez said after powering the 6-2 victory against the Brewers before suddenly realizing the Cubs have the best road following in the National League. ‘‘So it should be the same.’’

In fact, the Cubs’ home/road difference is so pronounced in what manager Joe Maddon calls a ‘‘bipolar’’ sense that fixing the road problem has become a focus for the final two months of the regular season.

‘‘We’re all embarrassed by not having won a road series since May [19], and we’ve lost every single road series against a division opponent this year,’’ said team president Theo Epstein, who indicated the Cubs are taking a detailed look at possible changes, including pregame work patterns. ‘‘As talented as we are, if we don’t fix that, we’re not going anywhere. So it’s a huge priority for us.’’

The Cubs have the worst road record in the National League (21-33) but have the second-best home record in the league (37-18).

‘‘We just get here, and we relax; we let the game come to us,’’ said Baez, who homered and doubled twice. ‘‘We go on the road, and we [put] too much pressure to win the game before it’s over.’’

Three factors might help by the time the Cubs open their next trip Thursday:

• Jason Heyward taking his .354 on-base percentage to the leadoff spot has shown results in just three games, contributing to two victories. He led off the first with a homer Friday and later reached on an error and a walk.

• Maddon’s annual American Legion week, in which players are ordered to show up later than usual to the ballpark, is scheduled for the next homestand.

• And veteran left-hander Cole Hamels returns from an oblique injury to start Saturday.

‘‘Everybody talks about other teams’ rotations,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘I kind of like ours. Get [Hamels] back and get him well and continue to attempt to put the bullpen guys out there at the right time, it’s very interesting.’’

Left-hander Jose Quintana (9-7) pitched into the seventh inning to win his fifth consecutive decision.

Glove affair

One batter into the eighth, Cubs reliever Brandon Kintzler suddenly was ordered by plate umpire John Tumpane to replace his glove. That caused confusion among players, Maddon and fans.

‘‘It was all about the color, the color of the glove,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘That’s what I was told. I said to John, ‘You realize he’s been using that glove all year?’ ’’

Kintzler, who wasn’t immediately available for comment afterward, told a pal in the clubhouse he had used the same gray color scheme for his gloves for four years.

Maddon said the rule emphasis came from the league, not some psychological warfare by the Brewers.