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Despite struggles, 'good times ahead' for Cubs

Chicago still in contention in NL Central despite dropping below .500
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Manager Joe Maddon has seen this before. Maybe it hasn't been quite the same, but he's seen it nevertheless.

On a day when the Cubs offense struggled again to string good at-bats together, managing just five hits in a 9-1 loss to the Rockies at Wrigley Field and falling on the verge of getting swept in four games for the first time since June 30-July 3 last year, Maddon was asked if he ever dealt with similar woes. His answer?

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CHICAGO -- Manager Joe Maddon has seen this before. Maybe it hasn't been quite the same, but he's seen it nevertheless.

On a day when the Cubs offense struggled again to string good at-bats together, managing just five hits in a 9-1 loss to the Rockies at Wrigley Field and falling on the verge of getting swept in four games for the first time since June 30-July 3 last year, Maddon was asked if he ever dealt with similar woes. His answer?

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"It happens to everybody. I'm sure if you ask every other team, they're going to tell you the same thing," Maddon said. "Of course it happens. To the extent that it's happening with some guys is a little more difficult. ... It's just collectively a bad moment for us."

Yet even in Saturday's game -- the continuation of that bad moment -- there was a firsthand look at what the Cubs are seeking. It just came from the other side.

Video: COL@CHC: Rizzo singles, advances to second on throw

The Cubs had two in scoring position with one out in the first, but they didn't score. The team's next hit didn't come until the seventh inning, while the Rockies slowly pushed out the lead until exploding for five runs in the ninth.

"I think [it'll take] just a really good game, like they did today," Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant said of breaking out of the slump. "They put up 14 or 15 hits, scored a bunch of runs. I think that kind of sparks a little something."

But until then, the story remains the same. The Cubs have shown signs of life, loading the bases twice on Friday and building up to prime scoring opportunities twice on Saturday, but they haven't been able to drive the runners in. If there is a silver lining, though, it's something happening entirely outside the clubhouse.

Video: COL@CHC: Dunn induces soft line drive to escape jam

While the Cubs dropped to a game below .500, they aren't even close to being out of contention. Still less than halfway through the season, the Cubs will end the day no more than three games behind the Brewers, who currently sit in first in the National League Central.

"You go through things like this. You go through spells where you don't feel good, and this is probably -- I guess as a team -- probably the lowest point that I've been here," Bryant said. "But it's really not that bad when you look at it in context in terms of the division. Nobody's really taken advantage of it, like some of the other divisions out there or like we did last year. So you've just got to keep your head up. Good times are ahead."

Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

Chicago Cubs