Epstein Bullish On Cubs' O, Wants 1 More Ingredient

The Cubs are hitting .242 with runners in scoring position, tied for last in the NL.

Mully & Haugh Show
June 20, 2019 - 11:24 am
Cubs shortstop Javier Baez (9) celebrates his walk-off single against the Phillies with teammates.

Patrick Gorski/USA Today Sports

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(670 The Score) A day after the Cubs rolled to a 7-3 win against the White Sox at Wrigley Field, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein on Thursday pointed out that it featured two of the three key ingredients for his team's offense to be successful.

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Power and the ability to get on base.

That was showcased in the Cubs hitting three homers while pounding out 11 hits and drawing three walks. The big blow came in the bottom of the first inning, when Willson Contreras hit a grand slam after Kyle Schwarber had led off with a double and two Cubs followed by drawing walks off White Sox ace Lucas Giolito.

Contreras' blast was the Cubs' only hit of the night with runners in scoring position, as they went 1-of-7 in such situations. That was par for the course, as the Cubs are hitting .242 with runners in scoring position, which is tied for last in the National League. 

With all that in mind, Epstein is left feeling confident while also optimistic that the Cubs can improve so much more. The Cubs are fifth in the NL in scoring, averaging just shy of 5.1 runs per game.

"There's some really good building blocks there," Epstein said on the Mully & Haugh Show. "Hitting for a lot of power -- we're third in home runs (in the NL). That's a good thing. We don't want that to go away. We lead the league in walks, which is huge. The combination of getting a lot of guys on base, which we do -- not in the last couple weeks, but overall, we do -- and hitting for power, that's a great combination. And the last step is to finish that formula off is to hit with runners in scoring position, which is a fickle beast. And we too often have been on the wrong side of that. It's a real focus. I actually thought we performed really well in that area the first month of so of the season. We were driving in runs at a pretty good clip. We had a whole-field approach. We were driving the ball to the opposite field. We had a good combination of situational awareness, patience and understanding of what the pitcher was trying to do to us with runners in scoring position. It's something we've really gotten away from over the last month or so. I do think what we saw early shows that it's in there and what we've seen lately shows that it requires a lot of attention.

"Some is mental. Some is fundamental. To ignore it because these things tend to even out over time doesn't make a lot of sense. Because it doesn't always even out over time for us. So it's got our attention."