Maddon: Key For Cubs Is To Be Road Warriors

The Cubs are 18-27 on the road this season.

Bruce Levine
July 21, 2019 - 5:16 pm
Cubs manager Joe Maddon

Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports

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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- With the help of a strong 7-2 homestand to open the second half, the Cubs sit in first place in the National League Central and also hold the second-best home record in the NL.

Chicago sits at 36-18 at Wrigley Field after a 5-1 loss to San Diego on Sunday afternoon, which trails only the Los Angeles Dodgers' home mark of 39-12 through Saturday. The Cubs' quality performance at home is the hallmark of a division champion and championship contender, but it's been a different story away on the road.

The Cubs are 18-27 away from Wrigley, which is tied for the fewest road win in the NL through Saturday. The struggles have left manager Joe Maddon and the front office shaking their heads and searching for answers as the team departs for San Francisco to start a nine-game road trip Monday. Chicago will follow by playing three games apiece at Milwaukee and St. Louis, its two biggest challengers in the division.

"Breaking it down, our road hitting record is not bad, but our road pitching numbers are not good," Maddon said. "That is all really strange for me. I would not have guessed that. Apparently, we need to be a little bit tighter on the pitching side. We have Alec Mills, Yu Darvish and Jon Lester in San Francisco. We just need to pitch better."

The Cubs have a 3.33 ERA at Wrigley Field and 4.97 ERA on the road, which ranks 13th in the NL. It's a crucial time for the Cubs to get those troubles figured out, as 19 of their next 25 games are on the road. 

"We have been through it before," Maddon said. "There is not an intimidation factor. There are no uncomfortable moments. I am just not getting that. We just have not played as well. I don't even know if it has to do with other teams getting better. I don't know how it all comes together."

The Cubs have 27 home games and 36 road games left this season. They know that if they're to have a chance to reach their championship aspirations, they have to play better on the road.

"We have had a great start to the second half," first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. "In the second half, it's up to us players to keep it up and keep rolling. We have played good baseball here. We need to keep doing it."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.