Cubs News: Theo Epstein:

Cubs News: Theo Epstein: "Baseball is really hard"

by - Senior Editor -

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein spoke to reporters before Thursday night's game against the Atlanta Braves. Epstein knew that the Cubs would eventually hit a dry spell after their franchise's historic start.

"Honestly, I think it's sort of baseball reality," Epstein said. "It's impossible to win at the pace we were winning at early in the season the whole year. Every team, even championship-caliber clubs, go through a month or so where they play .500 or so baseball, and that's what we're doing. It's not surprising.

"I think our players would admit we haven't quite had the same grinding relentlessness that we had in April. I'm very confident we're going to get back to that."

The bullpen has gotten most of the blame from the fans and media, but Epstein feels that the batting mentality has not been the same as it was earlier in the season.

"Everyone's talking about adding to the pen, and I understand that," Epstein said. "But I don't think it's fair to put this recent downturn in performance exclusively at the foot of the bullpen. The reality is we haven't had the same relentless, grinding approach at the plate for the last month or so that we had in April.

The starting pitchers have also gone through some difficulty for the first time this season.

"We had a rough turn or two through the rotation, which is to be expected [because] they were pitching at a historic pace. Every element of the club has played some part in us not playing our best baseball recently."

Epstein doesn't want people to forget how some of his relievers have experience in the postseason.

"It's important to remember that Trevor Cahill and Clayton Richard and Justin Grimm threw really big innings in the postseason for us last year and are certainly capable of doing it again," he said.

"People ask me, ‘Is it fair to be concerned?'" Epstein said. "Of course, it's fair to be concerned because baseball is really hard. It's hard to play at a consistently excellent level for 162 games. There should always be an element of concern.

"But if it's fair to be concerned, then it's just as fair -- if not more fair -- to be very excited about what this team is and what they're capable of and the foundation for this year and years to come."

The Cubs lost on Thursday night in extra innings to the Atlanta Braves 4-3 to put their record at 52-33. In the last ten games, the team is a dismal 3-7.

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