CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon sees his team’s three-game set against the Pirates as being business as usual. At least that’s what he expects.
It’s been just over a week since Maddon’s blowup against Pittsburgh on July 4 as he defended his club against pitches that ran up and in.
“I hope so. We made our point the other day” Maddon said. “I’m pretty good at putting things down and moving on. I think our group is also.”
The Pirates’ pitching strategy of controlling the inner part of the plate has been well documented throughout the years, at times, to the chagrin of teams they face.
“At some point, you have to stand up. Joe did that,” Anthony Rizzo said. “It’s all ebb and flow of the game.”
“We’ve been through situations like this before. We’ve had a break to forget and move on,” Bryant said. “We have games to win. We can’t worry about that when we have plenty of other stuff to worry about.”
Bryant has a correct assessment of where the Cubs priorities should be as the team plays six division games to start the second half and head into what will be a tight National League Central race.
“I really don’t anticipate any of that. Honestly, I don’t,” Maddon said. “We came here to play again. We need to get the second half started in the right direction. We need to play baseball and play it right.”
Hamels feeling better, return not close
The Cubs need a healthy Cole Hamels if they expect to make it to the playoffs this season, but his return does not appear to be imminent.
Hamels threw off flat ground prior to Friday’s game against the Pirates, but the Cubs do not have a timeline of when they expect Hamels to return.
“He’s been feeling pretty well prior to the [All-Star] break. Talking to him, he was pretty optimistic,” Maddon said. “So I think today is going to be important to find out how he feels going into tomorrow."
The Cubs placed Hamels on the 10-day injured list with a left oblique strain on June 29. Maddon noted that how Hamels feels Saturday would better determine where Hamels is in his rehab.