Jed Hoyer Not Worried About Cubs' Mini-Slump But Wants Better Plate Approach In Key Spots

"We have to be able to move the ball in situations that dictate it," Hoyer says.

Mully & Hanley Show
June 14, 2018 - 10:07 am
Cubs manager Joe Maddon, left, and first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

Benny Sieu/USA Today Sports

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(670 The Score) The Cubs have the second-highest scoring offense in the National League at 4.9 runs per game, but they've also been prone to a handful of team-wide slumps. The most recent example came across the past few days, when the Cubs were shut out in back-to-back games by the Brewers to fall 1.5 games back in the NL Central.

Part of that is baseball being baseball. And in the mind of general manager Jed Hoyer, part of that is also his team's approach. 

"We all love homers," Hoyer said on the Mully & Hanley Show. "It's more just being able to put the ball in play in moments that matter. You can't punch out with guys in scoring position over and over while you're trying to hit a two-run homer. I think we have to be able to move the ball in situations that dictate it. I'm certainly as pro-homer and pro-slugging percentage as anybody, but I do think you have to be able to hit against high-velocity guys and you have to be able to put the ball in play in today's game. If you can't, I think you're really going to struggle in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings."

The trouble for the Cubs is they haven't produced many homers lately. The prime example of that is star third baseman Kris Bryant, who's homer-less since May 14. 

As some like Bryant have slumped, outfielder Jason Heyward has surged. Hoyer had high praise for Heyward, believing his contact rate is a good model for how the Cubs want to execute in some situations. As a team, the Cubs are hitting .236 with runners in scoring position, which is 11th in the NL. Their OPS in those situations is .692, which is a significant drop-off from their overall .754 mark.

Of course, the power-vs.-contact approach is a balancing act.

"We haven't hit for much power recently," Hoyer said. "I think that's bound to change. When you look at the guys in our lineup, I think it's obvious that we're going to hit plenty of home runs. I love the way Jason looks right now. He looks confident, aggressive. He's hit the ball hard. Hopefully he keeps playing well. Hopefully he can continue this streak and we can get some of these other guys out of it. But we don't want to give up a ton of power."