You have to hand it to the Cubs, they can’t seem to beat the Reds or are the Reds really that good? Yesterday, the Cubs tried desperately to make it seven in a row but fell short in the 3-2 loss.
“You look at the numbers on the stat sheet and they’re pretty good up and down, and the bullpens, too,” Joe Maddon said of the division’s pitching staffs. “[The Reds’] bullpen is a lot better than it had been, Milwaukee, ourselves, etc. The pitching is good in this division. But so is the offense. It’s turned out to be a tough division.
“It’s very strong, which is good. I want that. I want us to play in what’s hopefully considered the best [division] in baseball. That should bring out the best in your players on a nightly basis.”
It does bring out the best in this tight division. It’s also been a tough Wild Card race as well. Going into the break, the Cubs will have to finish strong.
“Look where we’re at — we’re in a good spot and right there. We have what we feel like is the best baseball to be played.” Mike Montgomery said.
He’s right. Although baseball is a peculiar game. Why can’t the Cubs beat the Reds? The Reds could be playing spoiler down the road if the Cubs can’t pick it up.
The real question concerning the break is who the Cubs are going to pick up, if they’re going to get anyone to solidify an all ready potent team?
“You’re always looking to fortify and add a little bit, and you always have Plan B and Plan C in case of injury or bad performance,” Epstein said. “There’s no way we’re going to go out and acquire starters the caliber of a locked-in Kyle Hendricks or a locked-in Jose Quintana. The majority of our answers lie within, that’s for sure.”
The struggle does come from within. I’m confident Hendricks will turn the corner but what about Yu Darvish? His critics are real and perhaps he’s the one who needs to carry the rest of the team on his back?
“I just want him to be well,” Maddon said. “That’s what I talked to him about specifically. ‘It’s not about rushing. Just get back out there. Get back in your routine. Get back in your work. Then, as this plays, we’ll get you back out there. Of course, we want you back sooner rather than later, but if biology’s not going to permit it, it’s not going to permit it.'”