Cubs won't overreact to rough week at the plate

Cubs won't overreact to rough week at the plate

MILWAUKEE - Anthony Rizzo gave a three-word answer to the first question he was asked after Thursday's loss and paused for a brief moment before a big grin spread across his face.

Rizzo joked that he was trying to pull a Gregg Popovich, the San Antonio Spurs coach known for giving brief, simple answers in sideline interviews.

The Cubs are in the midst of their toughest week of the 2016 season, but they're not stressing about it.

Rizzo and the high-powered Cubs offense that led the National League in runs scored entering play Thursday managed just seven runs against a Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff that has the third-worst ERA in baseball.

"Give them credit," Rizzo said. "All series, they pitched us well. They played us really well. We just didn't come out on top."

Joe Maddon believes the Cubs hit into some bad luck in the first two games of the series, but was more ready to tip his cap to the Brewers after Game 3. He also insisted there are no lineup changes coming to shake things up.

The Cubs struck out 15 times Thursday against Junior Guerra and two Brewers relievers.

It was the first time the Cubs had whiffed at least 10 times since last Wednesday and only the third time in 17 May games.

Beginning with Sunday's loss to Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Cubs didn't score before the ninth inning in three straight games (Dexter Fowler halted that streak with a leadoff homer Thursday).

So how are the Cubs dealing with this offensive lull? In part, by refusing to admit it really is a lull.

"It's a matter of perspective," Fowler said. "Some guys are hitting the ball well, just not finding any luck. It's baseball."

Yet the Cubs still came mere feet away from pulling out Thursday's game.

Fowler drove a ball to the wall in right-center with two on in the ninth inning, but Brewers right fielder Ramon Flores tracked it down for the second out. It was just one of a handful of warning-track shots the Cubs hit in the series that resulted in outs.

"It's tough because we've been swinging the bat good overall," Cubs catcher Miguel Montero said. "Unfortunately, we hit them right at people. Nothing we can do about it.

"We just have to keep swinging and eventually they're going to fall in holes. We had a stretch where everything was falling and that's just the name of the game sometimes. You can't do anything about it.

"It's nothing to worry about. Guys feel good. The pitchers keep us in the ballgame and we start another series tomorrow."

To a man, the Cubs kept on message after Thursday's game, focusing on their upcoming three-game series in San Francisco and giving the Brewers credit for taking two of three from baseball's best team.

"It's just part of it," Rizzo said. "We're gonna go through the ups and downs of the season and this is one of them. It's part of the game.

"It's unfortunate because you want to come in and get off to a good start on this road trip. But we go out to San Francisco and we have Jake [Arrieta] on the mound tomorrow."

Cubs Talk Podcast: David Ross set to be named manager; Bryant service time dispute


Cubs Talk Podcast: David Ross set to be named manager; Bryant service time dispute

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, David Kaplan, Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki react to the news of David Ross becoming the new manager of the Cubs and the upcoming hearing with Kris Bryant regarding his delayed callup back in 2015.

01:30 - Was it always David Ross' job?

04:00 - Ross having to do a mock press conference as part of his interview process

10:00 - Theo and Jed's interview process

13:00 - How will Ross hold his former teammates accountable

17:00 - How active will the team be in free agency this offseason

21:00 - Kris Bryant's grievance over his service time

28:00 - Chances Kris Bryant (or a core player) gets traded this offseason

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:


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David Ross' mock speech and press conference helped him land Cubs' manager job

David Ross' mock speech and press conference helped him land Cubs' manager job

After much speculation, former Cubs catcher David Ross is set to become the team's next manager, replacing Joe Maddon.

While we'll know more soon about what went into the Cubs' decision to hire Ross, minor details are coming out regarding the interview process. According to two reports, the team was impressed with Ross' delivery of a mock speech and how he handled a mock press conference.

This isn't the first time the Cubs have asked managerial candidates to partake in such activities. After interviewing for the Cubs' vacancy In November 2011, former manager Dale Sveum partook in an actual press conference featuring questions from the media. He wasn't hired at that point, but the presser was part of the Cubs' interview process. 

No, Ross wasn't named the Cubs' next manager solely on the mock speech and press conference. His clubhouse leadership and familiarity with the organization are two big factors. But the speech points to Ross' strength in the latter category; his ability to represent the organization positively through media relations — one of Maddon's strengths — is important, too.

Whether these strengths lead to wins is to be determined, but Ross clearly impresed the Cubs for a multitude of reasons.

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