Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

Checking in on the reverse standings (taking it as a good thing, a bad thing, or just a thing), the Cubs have pulled “ahead” of the Rockies for the second worst record in baseball. The Cubs are clear of the Rockies by 2.5 games right now, but are far “behind” the Astros for the worst record. With an 8.5 game “lead” (and a roster that makes the Cubs look like the ’27 Yankees), the Astros are uncatchable at this point. The next team “behind” the Rockies is the Twins, who are four games “behind” the Cubs.

  • Well, Dale Sveum is pretty fed up with the crappy at bats he’s seeing from the Cubs lately (who struck out an insane 37 times in the three-game series against the Brewers). “I’m not going to lie to you — it does get frustrating to lose and be behind in ballgames constantly to where our closer has gotten three save opportunities in the month of August,” Sveum told reporters. “We’ve got to start putting things together and get on the board early and get leads and stay on top. It’s very difficult when you’re not getting people on base. [David] DeJesus is swinging the bat great and we’re not getting him in, getting him over. There’s a lot of young things going on now that are starting to be glaring. We’re not producing winning at-bats to win baseball games …. It’s a combination of a lot of things. We’re going down looking, we’re swinging at pitches way out of the zone early, and then we get good pitches to hit and we take them. What’s going on right now mentally is strange from a hitting point. We’re aggressive when we shouldn’t be, and we’re passive when we should be aggressive. We’ve got to address all these problems in the winter …. We’re super young right now. That’s part of the gig and we knew it. You’re going to struggle with those kind of things. If you are going to struggle, I’d much rather see us have some kind of game plan and not go down looking so much in key situations and with guys in scoring position. We’ve got to be a lot more aggressive in those situations. We’ve got to turn into winning hitters. You can’t be hit chasers, you’ve got to be winning hitters.”
  • The grind: “Everybody knows that the 100-loss thing is obviously a [reality], but in a baseball season you’re still going day to day and not worried about the final outcome of your record as much as winning that day,” Sveum said, per ESPNChicago. “That’s the bottom line. Obviously nobody wants to lose 100 games, but you just have to plug away every single day to grind it out. We have to start grinding. That’s the bottom line. You have to grind things out.”

  • Sveum spoke separately about Anthony Rizzo’s slump, as did Rizzo, and about the adjustment process he’s got to go through as pitchers start working him differently.
  • On Chris Volstad’s future, Sveum said he’s not going anywhere for now. “We’re committed [to Volstad],” Sveum said, according to Paul Sullivan. “We don’t have any other options to even think about doing anything else, to tell you the truth.” When asked about Chris Rusin being that other option, Sveum responded strangely, saying, “We have other things to plan out as well.” The only thing I can take away from that with certainty is that the rotation decisions are not being made entirely by Sveum. He’s getting input from the front office, and, frankly, given that the Cubs are in an evaluation/training/preparing for next year phase, the front office absolutely should have input. They’re the ones who have to make a decision on guys like Volstad after the season.
  • Jim Hendry, former Cubs GM and current Special Assistant with the Yankees, says the reported Starlin Castro extension is a win-win for the Cubs and Castro, and also says the Cubs are on the right path. “[Epstein’s rebuilding is] a path that will be good down the road, and you’ll benefit from even things like when you bring up guys like [Brooks] Raley and [Chris] Rusin and people that are young and inexperienced,” Hendry told ESPNChicago. “All those starts now and all the playing time these young kids are getting will benefit shortly in the near future, not the long future. I think you’ll see steady improvement [in the near future].” It’s weird to hear Hendry talk about the kind of rebuild he never engaged in (or was never given the latitude to engage in).

  • Kevin Capie looks at a number of questions surrounding the Cubs/Peoria/Kane County A-ball affiliation change, which he notes cannot actually happen until after the A-ball season ends.

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