Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Maddon: Cubs 'still in good shape,' can rebound

Bryant adds that 2016 World Series comeback shows Chicago's resilience
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon has three team meetings a year, and his second was on Thursday right before the team dropped an 11-2 clunker to the Brewers to fall 4 1/2 games behind in the National League Central.

Bad timing?

View Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon has three team meetings a year, and his second was on Thursday right before the team dropped an 11-2 clunker to the Brewers to fall 4 1/2 games behind in the National League Central.

Bad timing?

View Full Game Coverage

"Yes, it's ironic," Maddon said. "But the thing is, we played nine innings yesterday. We had a bad start, but you cannot denigrate one player or relief pitcher for not going out there and doing their job once the game was out of reach.

"There was not a negative moment in that dugout. My takeaway was good. We got our butts kicked, and there's a way to get your butts kicked properly, and we did that yesterday."

This season hasn't gone the way the Cubs or their fans would've liked following a World Series championship in 2016. Kris Bryant said he felt some of the players have simply underachieved, and he was confident Chicago could catch Milwaukee.

"We've done it before," Bryant said of the Cubs' ability to come back from deficits. "I think we look at the World Series last year, being down, 3-1 -- nobody expects you to come back and win the whole thing. That is more impressive than coming back from 4 1/2 [games back]. What we did in the World Series is more impressive than that. We can do it. That's what makes me so confident."

Maddon feels the same way.

"They showed it the last two years, that they're championship caliber," Maddon said of the Cubs. "I'm not interested in the trade market now. I believe the answers are in our room -- we just have to get it out of our guys. You have to use some foresight. Because they are skillful and young and a lot of them have not reached their level of capabilities -- I work from a scout's perspective, and I see a lot of potential with our guys."

The challenge is more mental than physical, Maddon said. During his message to the players, he re-emphasized some points from his first speech in Spring Training, such as listening to the heartbeat and focusing on fundamentals. The Cubs have had to deal with more injuries than they did last season, losing Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and Kyle Hendricks.

"I wanted to remind them we're in good shape now," Maddon said. "We've had a tough first half. Maybe we all haven't played up to our abilities, but we're still in good shape. I'm not accusing anybody of being satiated. This is what I'm seeing, is a bunch of humans who have had two long years and in a good position now. Let's really keep focused, and I think this can help catapult us in the second half."

The Cubs do miss Dexter Fowler's energy and performance at the top of the lineup, Maddon said. The manager also said he didn't take into consideration that Kyle Schwarber missed all of last season, and he perhaps placed too many expectations for this year.

"There's plenty of great guys here," Bryant said. "I think all of us are underachieving, and that's kind of exciting because we know what we can do. And if we do that, we'll be where we want to be."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chicago Cubs