MILWAUKEE — Theo Epstein says to place the blame on him — and nobody else — for the Chicago Cubs’ powerful begin to the season.
After profitable their opening sport final week, the Cubs have dropped six straight, failing each on the mound and within the area. The slide prompted Epstein, the crew’s president of baseball operations, to concern an apology to followers whereas shouldering the blame.
“There may be at all times a seek for scapegoats while you get off to a troublesome begin,” Epstein mentioned within the Cubs’ dugout earlier than Saturday’s sport in opposition to the Milwaukee Brewers. “[Pitching coach] Tommy Hottovy will not be the issue. He is a giant a part of the answer. [Owner] Tom Ricketts will not be the issue. It is not a useful resource concern. I do know he is one other one which’s been taking plenty of warmth. It is not a useful resource drawback. If folks have an issue with the allocation of assets, then that is on me. And it has been ever since I acquired right here, with plenty of good and a few unhealthy.”
Cubs relievers Allen Webster and Kyle Ryan will take the place of Carl Edwards Jr., who was optioned to Triple-A Iowa, and Mike Montgomery, who was placed on the injured record.
Chicago’s offense lastly busted out with 10 runs in Milwaukee. The issue? Even that wasn’t sufficient for a 1-6 membership discovering out it’s only nearly as good as its weakest hyperlink.
The unhealthy that Epstein is referring to is totally on the mound, the place final offseason he sunk $126 million into Yu Darvish, $38 million into Tyler Chatwood and $21 million into Brandon Morrow. None has come near paying off.
The remainder of the workers hasn’t helped, both. The Cubs rank 28th in ERA thus far. On high of that, they surprisingly rank on the backside of the league in protection after a handful of video games this 12 months.
“It has been actual near, if not, a worst-case state of affairs for us, defensively and when it comes to our pitching,” Epstein mentioned. “That will get your consideration in a damaging means. We’re sorry we’re placing our followers by means of this.”
Earlier than Saturday’s sport, the Cubs optioned Carl Edwards Jr., who was as soon as a key pitcher for the crew however has struggled mightily within the early going this 12 months.
Supervisor Joe Maddon mentioned he could not keep in mind a state of affairs during which he needed to ship out a veteran earlier than the crew had performed a house sport. The Cubs do not play their first sport at Wrigley Subject till Monday. To date, their nine-game street journey to open the season has been an unmitigated catastrophe.
“We have to change the script,” Epstein mentioned. “We additionally know we management that. We have to play higher defensibly and throw extra strikes, and this could stabilize.”
It is nonetheless early April, however Milwaukee’s scorching begin (7-1) mixed with the Cubs’ sluggish one has made the standings a subject. In a worst-case state of affairs, the Cubs might be 7.5 video games out of first place earlier than enjoying their residence opener.
“In a very aggressive league and division, you do not need to dig your self too nice a gap,” Epstein mentioned. “It is fairly necessary we begin to flip this factor round and dig our means again to .500.”
Even Maddon’s job safety has been a subject this early, contemplating he is within the last 12 months of his contract and the Cubs have publicly said his destiny will not be determined till after the season. Requested if he was feeling any strain related to the unhealthy begin, Maddon mentioned, “Zero.”
“The final 4 years have been fairly good,” he mentioned. “If I’ve to depend on per week’s price of baseball video games, then that is a nasty course of.”
Maddon was additionally keen to shoulder the blame for the Cubs’ poor begin, however Epstein acknowledged that on the finish of the day, “it is all my duty.”
“This seek for magic bullets or scapegoats, I do not assume that is productive,” Epstein mentioned. “I perceive it, however in the end it is all my duty. … I am not in it alone, thank god. We’ve actually gifted folks right here. We’ve nice gamers that we belief. We’re all going to a part of pulling out of this.
“It’s important to discover a option to stabilize it even when issues appear unstable.”