SAN DIEGO -- Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein encouraged the media to write about the team's offensive struggles, particularly driving in runners. Usually, as soon as that's considered a trend, the team is able to turn things around. At least, the Cubs expect to correct that.It may take
SAN DIEGO -- Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein encouraged the media to write about the team's offensive struggles, particularly driving in runners. Usually, as soon as that's considered a trend, the team is able to turn things around. At least, the Cubs expect to correct that.
It may take a little more time. On Tuesday, the Cubs lost their fifth in a row, falling 6-2 to the Padres. Chicago is ranked last in the National League with runners in scoring position. What's odd is that the defending World Series champions also have 523 plate appearances with RISP, the most of any NL team. That means the Cubs are getting opportunities.
"We feel we have a talented offense that will be productive over the long haul that has fallen into some bad patterns," Epstein said. "We're a little too easy to pitch to these days, which means we have to adjust. I think that's going to come."
In Monday's 5-2 loss to the Padres, the Cubs were 1-for-10 with RISP and stranded 11. Manager Joe Maddon didn't make any major changes to Tuesday's lineup other than to insert Jonathan Jay into the fifth spot in hopes of driving in runs.
"I really believe this stuff will go away -- it's not who we are, it's not how we play," Maddon said. "It's a cyclical game. As long as we maintain a belief in ourselves, it'll come back to us. I've actually seen a lot of good things."
Jay is a veteran; the majority of the Cubs' lineup is young, but Epstein isn't blaming their youth.
"These players won the World Series and a lot of them have shown a lot of growth in the big league level," Epstein said.
"[Player development] is not always linear," Epstein said. "Individual players' development paths, the arc of their careers, is not always a linear thing. There's often times some regression. There are periods when pitchers adjust to them quicker than they adjust back. I think we're witnessing some of that and some guys going through it at the same time."
Last year, the Cubs didn't have many tough times en route to winning 103 games and the World Series.
"The talent level of our players collectively and individually hasn't changed," Epstein said. "We haven't found a way to tap into it consistently this year."
It's been frustrating for the players and everyone involved, Epstein said. He also doesn't expect it to continue.
"We don't need everyone to get hot, we don't need everyone to hit their projections," Epstein said. "We just need a few guys to get going to make our offense really viable. We need time. I think over time our guys will continue to progress. When that gap exists, it's a better position than not having the talent.
"We're just not playing well enough, but we are plenty talented. It's on us to figure it out sooner rather than later."
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.