Photo courtesy of SaintPetersBlog.com
Things aren't going the way they were supposed to go for the Cubs.
After winning their first World Series in 108 years last fall, the Cubs returned the core of their team and were among the favorites to win the World Series this year. Talk of a dynasty even permeated the Windy City.
But after getting swept by the Dodgers this weekend, the Cubs are just 25-24 and a game and a half back of the Brewers in the National League Central. To put Chicago's 25 wins into perspective, the Cubs got to 25 wins last year in just 31 games.
"Please, let them freak out," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said, via ESPN.com, when asked Sunday about panicking Cubs fans. "If you want to freak out, freak out."
Maddon said earlier this month the Cubs hitters were too focused on hitting. He said Sunday his team is trying to hit home runs instead of being more efficient at the plate. The Cubs were 0 for 14 with runners in scoring position against the Dodgers and are now hitting a National League-worst .127 with runners at second or third.
"We have to score the runner from third with less than two outs with something other than a home run," Maddon said. "We're just hitting home runs to score runs. We have to become more efficient moving the baseball. I've been talking about it for three years now.
"You have to get to the point where you move the ball and make adjustments," Maddon added. "Middle of the field, opposite field, get the home run out of your head. If it happens, it happens. We just got too big there."
The Cubs did hit three home runs off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, but Cubs pitchers allowed four homers in a 9-4 victory.
"You can't make anything happen in this game," Cubs ace Jon Lester, who lasted just 3 1/3 innings on Sunday, said. "Sometimes it's better to sit back and let things come to you. You're not pressing then.
"We have a good team. It'll come. It'll click."