Cubs

Maddon calls on Winston Churchill as Cubs offense searches for consistency

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Maddon calls on Winston Churchill as Cubs offense searches for consistency

The Cubs' offensive issues lately has driven manager Joe Maddon to quote Winston Churchill - "If you're going through Hell, keep going."

Maddon dropped that historical nugget in his postgame media session Friday after the Cubs managed just one run on six hits in a 2-1 loss to the Marlins in front of 41,212 fans to kick off a holiday weekend at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs have now scored 17 runs in their last 10 games, including six in what looked to be an offensive breakout during Thursday's win in New York.

"It's the ebb and flow of the season," Maddon said. "What matters to me is that our guys care, they come ready to play. If you're going through a tough time offensive, what's that Winston Churchill quote? 'If you're going through Hell, keep going'? Talking the baseball sense right now, definitely not in the World War II sense.

"I've always liked that line. So just keep on going."

[SHOP: Buy a Cubs 4th of July hat]

The Cubs are still searching for that consistent offense that will help take their overall game to the next level, though Friday's lineup was without Starlin Castro, who was getting a routine day off, and the Cubs are still without Jorge Soler, who is rehabbing in Triple-A Iowa while on the disabled list with an ankle injury.

The Cubs scored a run in the first inning with two outs when Kris Bryant doubled and Miguel Montero drove him home on the next pitch with a single to right field. But that was all the North Siders could muster against Marlins starter Tom Koehler and three relievers.

The Marlins didn't do much on offense themselves, with only five hits off Jason Hammel and a slew of Cubs relievers. But two of those hits left the yard - Christian Yelich in the first inning and former Cubs farmhand Justin Bour in the sixth.

"It sucks that the two mistakes you have in the game end up leaving the yard and it cost the team the game," Hammel said. "I felt pretty good. I was kinda pitching today without the slider; wasn't at it's best. But battled through it and obviously we had a great chance to win."

Hammel fell to 5-4 on the season, but actually improved his ERA (2.89) and lowered his WHIP (0.95) as he allowed only four hits and a walk in seven innings. It was his 10th quality start of the season.

At this time last year, Hammel was looking like a nice piece for the Cubs to sell off at the trade deadline with an 8-5 record and 2.98 ERA in 17 starts. Then Theo Epstein's front office set off some Fourth of July fireworks of their own, spinning Hammel and Jeff Samardzija for Addison Russell in a deal with the Oakland A's.

The Cubs went on to lose 89 games while Hammel and the A's lost to the Kansas City Royals in that epic American League wild card game.

[MORE - Theo, Cubs staying realistic with trade deadline bearing down]

This year, the Cubs are looking like buyers as July heats up and Hammel joked he hopes he will be sticking around after Saturday's game.

"It's a big difference over last year," he said. "Right now, the games mean something. We're confident in what we can do. We're playing tight ballgames.

"All this is doing is preparing us for a shot at the playoffs because this is what every playoff game is like - one-run games, tight, every pitch matters, all pressure-packed innings. Obviously, we want to come out on the better side, but we're playing good ballgames."

Podcast: In light of recent hitting coach turmoil, who’s to blame for Cubs offensive struggles?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: In light of recent hitting coach turmoil, who’s to blame for Cubs offensive struggles?

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, David Kaplan, Kelly Crull, Luke Stuckmeyer and Tony Andracki discuss the comments Chili Davis made after being fired as Cubs hitting coach, ask if the Cubs struggles on offense were Davis' fault or the players and what Anthony Iapoce will be walking into as he tries to gets the team back on track a the plate.

 

Listen to the entire podcast here, or in the embedded player below:

 

Texas Rangers hire Cubs' Shiraz Rehman to be assistant GM

Texas Rangers hire Cubs' Shiraz Rehman to be assistant GM

The changing of the guard continues for the Cubs this offseason. 

After the team hired a new hitting coach yesterday, it was reported today that they're losing a front office member: 

Rehman, who has been with the Cubs in the same position for the last seven years, will reportedly head up the Rangers' analytics department. According to the Chicago Tribune, Rehman's role was " evaluating existing systems, and recognizing and applying solutions in an effort to create competitive advantages for the organization." 

All reports indicate that he'll be doing similar analytic-based work with the Rangers.