6/20 Lou: "We've got to play better"

What’s a manager to do? The Cubs entered Sunday’s game against the Angels eight games back in the National League Central at 30-38, matching the season low-water mark of eight games under .500. They’ve given up 44 unearned runs, tops in the Major Leagues, and have committed 11 errors in the last five games.

“I keep getting asked, what can I do?” Lou Piniella said Sunday. “We’ve altered the rotation, we’ve altered the bullpen, we’ve rested people, we’ve changed the lineups. What else can we do? We’ve tried. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to continue to try.

“You’ve got to play well on the field — that’s basically the bottom line,” he said. “If you don’t play well on the field, you can talk about it all you want but it’s not going to do you any good. It’s been a struggle. It’s been a struggle, it really has.

“I don’t think anybody’s happy — I know I’m not happy,” he said. “Gosh, we go through periods here where things you don’t expect to see [happen].”

Is it up to the players?

“The game is played on the field,” Piniella said. “I don’t believe in criticizing, I don’t believe in getting on people, I really don’t, never have. But, gosh, we work on things all the time and we have to execute them during the game, period.

“Everybody’s trying,” he said. “I’ve never complained about lack of effort, not one time in the four years I’ve been here. But to win, you’ve got to make plays, you’ve got to hit with men in scoring position. Those are the things you need to do, period.”

– Carrie Muskat

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