Bernstein: Jed Hoyer Wants Cubs Hot Right Now

The pressure has to exceed the pleasure for the Cubs at this critical juncture.

Dan Bernstein
September 19, 2019 - 1:49 pm

(670 The Score) In exhorting the Cubs to become something now that it has yet to be after nearly six months of play, general manager Jed Hoyer described their ongoing struggle to be at their best and stay there.

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"This team has been unable to get hot, unable to sustain a really good run," Hoyer told the Bernstein and McKnight Show on 670 The Score on Thursday. "That really has been probably the biggest frustration, just that inability to get hot and that inability to have that extended period of winning longer than four or five games.​ The Cardinals have done it, the Brewers have done it, the Nationals have done it and we haven't been able to do it. We haven't been able to have an extended string of good performance. If we continue to do that, we are going to fall short. At some point, we are going to have to sustain good game after good game and be able to click off a bunch of wins, and hopefully we do that."

Whether the Cubs make the playoffs or not, that's the on-field story of 2019.

Their record is 82-70, but it should be better. Based on the pythagorean calculation using their 774 runs scored and 659 allowed, they're expected to instead be 87-65. And Hoyer noted their shrunken margin for error due to poor defense giving opponents extra outs and careless baserunning undermining their own opportunities, with the two conspiring against their efforts in close games.

As if saying it out loud can make it so, Hoyer is still hoping that some optimized version of this team -- whatever was envisioned when they put it together and each time they've remodeled it on the fly -- can emerge in time to hold off a pair of divisional rivals here at the end. Asked about the balance of pressure and pleasure, Hoyer made it clear the Joe Maddon Rule isn't in effect.

"When you're tied with 10 games left, I think that it's pressure," Hoyer said. "It has to be. We have 10 games left to decide if we make the postseason or not, and if you don't make the postseason, you don't have a chance to win the World Series. So for me this about pressure, this about urgency and certainly I think our guys know that. Every single game is crucial and there's no game that can be taken lightly, so at this point it's about having heightened focus and hopefully playing our best baseball."

But that was also the case the last two nights, losses to a Reds team clearly with less talent. All that emphasis on focus, and the Cubs went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, while mainstays Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber each made an entirely avoidable out at second base.

Hoyer and Theo Epstein keep demanding better -- and keep not getting it. If not now against the Cardinals and staring at another ignominious end, this team will only get what it deserves.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in midday. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.