'No crying' from Maddon, Cubs over rough stretch

Chicago ends 1st half playing on 24 consecutive days

'No crying' from Maddon, Cubs over rough stretch

PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs won't need their suitcases once they return from the All-Star break. Their next flight is Aug. 3 when they head west to Oakland for a weekend.

They ended the first half playing 24 straight games, and won only nine of those after Sunday's 6-5 victory over the Pirates.

"You don't want to throw that out there as an excuse," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the schedule. "If you look at what's going to happen after, it'll get better. It's beat us up a little bit, it happens, and you don't cry about it. There is no crying in baseball."

Since June 19, the Cubs are 7-15, and played 14 of those games on the road. The starting pitchers went 4-10 in that stretch with seven quality starts and a 5.72 ERA. That's quite a drop from Opening Day until June 18 when the Cubs went 46-20 and the starting pitchers had a 2.32 ERA, totaling 47 quality starts in the 66 games.

What's up with the pitching?

"If I had to, I'd say it's just been a run without a break and that's why we did the [Adam] Warren thing," Maddon said about inserting the right-hander into the mix for a spot start to give everyone a breather.

"Fatigue enters into everybody, regardless of whether they want to admit it or not," Maddon said. "It's been a tough three weeks, scheduling-wise, without break. It's part of the game. It's more a fatigue thing than anything, it's not an injury situation or lack of confidence. When you get fatigued, you try to manufacture something that's not there. You normally have a hard time throwing the ball the way you want to."

The Cubs won't be going to the airport for 24 days after the All-Star break. Their only road trips are to Milwaukee and eight miles south of Wrigley Field to U.S. Cellular Field to play the White Sox. Those are bus trips.

Maddon, who will head to a Gulf Coast hotel for some rest and relaxation himself during the break, said the Cubs did accomplish what they wanted in the first half.

"We did talk in Spring Training about the importance of getting off to a good start, and we did," he said. "We've more than stubbed our toe recently -- we've probably sprained our toe -- but it happens. It's our time to understand adversity and fight through it. It happens. We'll come out on the better side for it.

"We'll hit another good run and make up for a lot of the stuff that occurred now," he said. "How do you do that? Play one game at a time, get back, grab some traction, get people well, make sure guys are rested pitching staff-wise. Our guys will pitch like you saw them at the beginning of the year. Right now, it's just one of those moments."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.