7/16 The second half
The Cubs open the second half of the season on Friday against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix. Here are some comments from manager Rick Renteria about the first half, which he made Sunday in Chicago to reporters:
Q: What did the team accomplish in the first half?
Renteria: “I would just say more than anything they’re building their confidence. They’re playing as a team – not giving up, continuing to chip away, maintaining an attitude that grinds and doesn’t take any deficit or any part of the game [and] allow it to affect them to an extent where you see them start to fall into a low. I think they’ve been playing hard all season. That’s one of the things we were hoping to get done and I think they’re doing that.”
Q: Could you sum up the first half?
Renteria: “We’ve done well as a club. They’ve chipped away. Obviously, early, we had certain things, little things, in the game that we probably weren’t doing as well as we would like. The ‘pen was a little erratic at times. Our starting pitching was good the whole season. We’ve continued to adjust to play the game, so to speak. There have been times where we’ve had some hiccups. But all in all, I think there have been very few games where you look at our club and think ‘God, this is terrible.’ They’ve plugged away, they’ve played. We’ve been in almost every game this season.”
Q: It’s been six months since you took over as manager. How do you feel about yourself and the team?
Renteria: “I feel good about where I’m at just simply because you get to know your personnel. Coming in, you have an understanding based on reports and information you’ve had and some of the contact you’ve had with some of the players. But there’s nothing like being with them on a daily basis to get a really good feel about who they are, what they’re about. Hopefully they’re taking on some of the personality of the coaches and myself as a manager. But, all in all, you have to continue to give players credit for what they do because they’re the ones out there between the lines and playing the game.”
Q: What can Cubs fans look forward to in the second half?
Renteria: “There are more opportunities before us. We have a chance to continue to grind, play the game. We need to understand that we’re not playing for August or September. The mentality is to keep playing so you feel you want to keep playing beyond August and September. As long as they continue to play the game and give themselves a chance to win every ballgame and play collectively as they should, we’ll hopefully be competitive and come out with some victories.”
Q: After the Cubs traded Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, Theo Epstein said he saw a light at the end of the tunnel for the organization. Do you see that?
Renteria: “Honestly, I thought I could see it prior to even being hired after studying all the players that were in the system and the guys that were here. I’ve always believed, even for the last four or five months, that, based on everything we’ve seen and how these guys have been playing, quite frankly, yeah, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. There’s a lot of talent in the system and I think there’s some talent on the big league field. With attitude and work, we can continue to move forward.”