Wild card showdown as #Cubs face Pirates, Giants this week
If the Cubs want to gain some ground in the Wild Card race, this week will be a good time to do so as they face both the Pirates and Giants, the two teams ahead of them. Manager Joe Maddon sticks to a “one day at a time” approach.
The Pirates and Giants both have postseason experience, something the young Cubs don’t have.
“There’s definitely an advantage — ‘been there done that,’ no question,” Maddon said Sunday. “But at the same time, you have a bunch of hungry guys coming on which can be in and of itself a good position to be in.”
The Cubs face the Pirates in a three-game series at PNC Park, starting Monday.
“To really ascend in the division, you have to play the better teams within your group and beat them, and to beat them where they live is important also,” Maddon said.
Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel, who will open the series against the Giants at Wrigley Field on Thursday, also preaches staying constant.
“That’s part of the learning process with the young guys is to not look too far ahead and not focus on scoreboard watching,” Hammel said. “A week ago, we got swept by [the Phillies] who are 15, 20 games under .500. It’s baseball — you can’t take things for granted and the whole idea of taking one pitch at a time, one game at a time is why teams win and get to the playoffs. It’s the idea of not getting ahead of yourself and not getting too down on yourself. You have to keep an even keel.”
— Carrie Muskat