As “very frustrating” as their current skid has been, Kris Bryant tried to keep a positive outlook after the Cubs' latest loss.
“You've got to keep your head up, keep moving forward,” Bryant said Saturday. “Can't let this game get the best of you.”
That might be easy for Bryant to say. He’s as likely to be in a playoff race as anyone on the Cubs this year, if only because he figures to be in high demand at the trade deadline.
Whether that comes to fruition, a Cubs team that had postseason aspirations at one point, as recently as a week ago, is in a stretch that has gotten tougher and tougher by the day.
After last Thursday’s combined no-hitter, the Cubs were tied with the Brewers for first in the NL Central. They’ve since lost eight straight games, including the first two of a three-game series with the Reds this weekend.
It's the Cubs longest losing streak since September 2019 (nine).
Cincinnati passed the Cubs for second in the division on Saturday, and the fourth-place Cardinals are now one game back of third.
Saturday’s loss came despite seven strong innings from Adbert Alzolay, as the offense scored only two runs, leaving nine runners on base while going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
In six of the eight games on the current skid, the Cubs have scored two runs or less.
“When everybody is collectively struggling, it’s tough to break out of it,” Bryant said.
It’s also nothing new for this lineup, which has had trouble scoring for extended stretches in recent seasons. The Cubs are the third team since 1920 to go 20 straight games with eight or fewer hits.
Alzolay, who said he quickly moved past his last outing, when the Dodgers tagged him for six runs on Sunday Night Baseball, was asked if he felt more pressure when the team is struggling to score.
“Not really," he said. "We already have a lot of pressure when we're on the mound. When you're facing a good lineup like [Saturday], if you keep putting more pressure on yourself, you won't get good results."
Despite Alzolay taking the loss, his results were good Saturday. He allowed three runs on five hits in those seven innings, a positive to take from the game.
Alzolay and Bryant both talked about moving forward and finding a way to win the next game.
“I think it's important to realize like, hey, yeah, this sucks right now, but just keep our head up,” Bryant said.