5/8 Theo: “Good things are happening”
After a rough 3-11 start, the Cubs are 9-6 in their last 15 games and Theo Epstein sees some good trends.
“There have been some really good things happening,” said Epstein, the Cubs president of baseball operations. “It’s baseball, so you don’t get too high when things are going well or too low when they’re not. The effort has been there all year and we’ve been playing hard and trying to play the game the right way. It’s hard to see sometimes when you’re losing close games and when breaks are going against you like they were early but everyone can appreciate it when the results come with it as they have lately.”
Cubs pitchers have compiled a 2.64 ERA in the last 15 games, fourth best mark in the Major Leagues in that stretch, and the team was batting .262, which ranks seventh in the National League. Looking for positives? Third baseman Ian Stewart, for example, was batting .381 in his last seven games to raise his average from .160 to .208. Geovany Soto was batting .167 overall but was 5-for-17 in his last five games. Ryan Dempster entered Tuesday’s game with a 0.95 ERA yet has not won in four starts.
“I think Stewart and Soto both have been hitting into tough luck all year and it’s starting to turn for both of them,” Epstein said Tuesday. “They’ve really been having quality at-bats for weeks and now balls are starting to fall for them or being driven out of the ballpark, which is a way to take care of your own luck sometimes. ‘Demp’ has been as good as anybody. The won-loss record is out of your control sometimes but he’s done a great job for us every time he’s taken the ball.”
– Carrie Muskat