‘There’s no magic potion’ to fix Cubs team that looked lost during 0-6 West Coast trip

‘There’s no magic potion’ to fix Cubs team that looked lost during 0-6 West Coast trip

SAN DIEGO – Another city meant another round of hangover questions for Joe Maddon, this time the Cubs manager getting compared to John Wooden and Phil Jackson while his team is breaking down in all phases of the game.  

“Everybody looks good when things are going well,” Maddon said during Wednesday’s pregame media session at Petco Park. “You’d like to see who looks good when things aren’t going so well, who’s able to maintain their sense of decorum and composure and basically don’t lose their minds.”

We’re about to find out. The defending World Series champs are a lot closer to that breaking point than anyone would have imagined during the banner-raising ceremony and ring presentations, ending an 0-for-6 West Coast trip with a 2-1 loss to the San Diego Padres. 

There is no “Pyramid of Success” to follow or Zen Master around to fix this. The Cubs are clearly pressing and playing without the same confidence and crispness that had so many people thinking a dynasty along the lines of UCLA basketball or Jordan’s Bulls.       

“There’s no magic potion,” Maddon said afterward. “We just got to keep going out there and playing. I believe in our guys, 100 percent, wholeheartedly. These are good, young players. They’ve shown it in the past. They’re going to show it to you again.”  

Maybe the photos will trickle out later on social media, but several noticeable players in the visiting clubhouse weren’t wearing their “Anchorman” costumes and trying to match Maddon for the long flight back home to Chicago. The traveling press corps had essentially run out of different ways to ask the same question about the offensive spiral when Jason Heyward snapped at a reporter. 

“It’s part of the game, so I’m not going to say anything negative,” Heyward said. “If you’re trying to get me to say anything negative, I’m not going to say it.”

OK, then, the Cubs needed an infield single to score their only run through seven innings against Luis Perdomo, a Rule 5 guy last year who came into the game with a 5.61 ERA, wasting a quality start from 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta. 

The Cubs scored nine runs on this road trip – four off Clayton Kershaw, of all people – and went 3-for-40 with runners in scoring position against the surging Los Angeles Dodgers and last-place Padres.

“I feel like guys are battling,” said Anthony Rizzo, whose two hits through 22 at-bats in Southern California came against Kershaw. “It’s just that you grip that bat a little bit harder. And it’s not as easy – myself included – for all of us.

“The good thing is it means we’re due. The law of averages means we’re due for a big outbreak. And I think once it does come, we’ll be on for a while.”

Until then, the Cubs played with almost no margin for error against a franchise that’s tanking for the future, starting another Rule 5 pick (catcher Luis Torrens) who had never played above the Class-A level until this season. San Diego’s leadoff guy (Franchy Cordero) had been called up Memorial Day weekend to make his big-league debut and delivered the game-changing hit in the eighth inning, driving a 78-mph Koji Uehara pitch off the right-center field wall for a one-out triple.

Cordero scored the go-ahead run when Yangervis Solarte bounced a ball toward drawn-in second baseman Ian Happ, who popped up and made a high throw to Willson Contreras. Cordero slid safely through the catcher’s legs, the Cubs looking like a 25-27 team that needs Thursday’s day off to decompress and feels fortunate enough to be playing in a weakened NL Central. 

Rest up, get away from it, blow off some team, whatever, because the St. Louis Cardinals are coming to Wrigleyville this weekend.

“From spring training to the last game of the year, you always have to keep the mindset of you never know what’s going to happen in a season,” Heyward said. “Don’t get too high. Don’t get too low.

“Look up and still be thankful we still got a chance to win our division.”

Cubs 2020 schedule: Season starts vs. Brewers at Wrigley, ends at White Sox

Cubs 2020 schedule: Season starts vs. Brewers at Wrigley, ends at White Sox

Ahead of Major League Baseball's schedule announcement show (5 p.m. CT, Monday) Cubs Insider obtained a copy of the Cubs' 60-game sprint.

The Cubs will play the Cardinals, Brewers, Reds and Pirates ten times each and will open the season at home on July 24 against Milwaukee. From there, they’ll hit the road for a four-game series against the Reds, whom they play seven times on the road. 

The Cubs also play the Pirates seven times on the road but host the Brewers and Cardinals seven times each. 

David Ross’ club only plays the Twins (Sept. 18-20 at Wrigley) and Tigers (Aug. 24-26 in Detroit) three times. They play the Royals four times, twice at home (Aug. 3-4) and twice on the road (Aug. 5-6).

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Because of the convenient travel, the Cubs and White Sox play six times — three on the North Side (Aug. 21-23) and three on the South Side to close the regular season (Sept. 25-27).

Check out the entire schedule: 

July 24 – Milwaukee Brewers
July 25 – Milwaukee Brewers
July 26 – Milwaukee Brewers
July 27 – at Cincinnati Reds
July 28 – at Cincinnati Reds
July 29 – at Cincinnati Reds
July 30 – at Cincinnati Reds
July 31 – Pittsburgh Pirates
Aug. 1 – Pittsburgh Pirates
Aug. 2 – Pittsburgh Pirates
Aug. 3 – Kansas City Royals
Aug. 4 – Kansas City Royals
Aug. 5 – at Royals
Aug. 6 – at Royals
Aug. 7 – at St. Louis Cardinals
Aug. 8 – at St. Louis Cardinals
Aug. 9 – at St. Louis Cardinals
Aug. 10 – Off
Aug. 11 – at Cleveland Indians
Aug. 12 – at Cleveland Indians
Aug. 13 – Brewers
Aug. 14 – Brewers
Aug. 15 – Brewers
Aug. 16 – Brewers
Aug. 17 – Cardinals
Aug. 18 – Cardinals
Aug. 19 – Cardinals
Aug 20 – Off
Aug. 21 – Chicago White Sox
Aug. 22 – Chicago White Sox
Aug. 23 – Chicago White Sox
Aug. 24 – at Detroit Tigers
Aug. 25 – at Detroit Tigers
Aug. 26 – at Detroit Tigers
Aug, 27 – Off
Aug. 28 – at Reds
Aug. 29 – at Reds
Aug. 30 – at Reds
Aug. 31 – Off
Sept. 1 – at Pirates
Sept. 2 – at Pirates
Sept. 3 – at Pirates
Sept. 4 – Cardinals
Sept. 5 – Cardinals
Sept. 6 – Cardinals
Sept. 7 – Cardinals
Sept. 8 – Reds
Sept. 9 – Reds
Sept. 10 – Reds
Sept. 11 – at Brewers
Sept. 12 – at Brewers
Sept. 13 – at Brewers
Sept. 14 – Off
Sept. 15 – Indians 
Sept. 16 – Indians 
Sept. 17 – Off
Sept. 18 – Minnesota Twins
Sept. 19 – Minnesota Twins
Sept. 20 – Minnesota Twins
Sept. 21 – at Pirates
Sept. 22 – at Pirates
Sept. 23 – at Pirates
Sept. 24 – at Pirates
Sept. 25 – at White Sox
Sept. 26 – at White Sox
Sept. 27 – at White Sox


Cubs reliever Kyle Ryan not at Summer Camp due to protocol 'technicalities'

Cubs reliever Kyle Ryan not at Summer Camp due to protocol 'technicalities'

Cubs reliever Kyle Ryan hasn’t arrived at Summer Camp yet due to a “process-based delay” that manager David Ross referred to as protocol "technicalities.”

Ryan has been working out on his own and throwing remotely. He threw a live batting practice session on Saturday and is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Tuesday. The Cubs said they hope he can join the team at camp by the end of the week.

Last week, Ross indicated no Cubs have tested positive for COVID-19. They're believed to be the only team, at least in the National League, with no positive tests.

Ryan is the Cubs bullpen's top lefty. Last season, he posted a 3.54 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 73 outings.

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