Maddon wants Schwarber to ignore numbers

Maddon wants Schwarber to ignore numbers

LOS ANGELES -- The Cubs' Kyle Schwarber, who is batting .149 this month, did not start on Friday against Dodgers lefty Alex Wood, but the lefty-swinging slugger will be back in the lineup on Saturday. Manager Joe Maddon is trying to figure out a way to get Schwarber on track while helping him ignore his batting average on the scoreboard.

"My concern when a guy is struggling a little bit is you don't want him to get too many at-bats because it's hard to get yourself out of the mental or physical numerical hole," Maddon said Friday. "By not giving him as many at-bats, as he gets hot again it'll be easier to get back to [a better] number.

"I don't care about [the batting average]. I'm looking at at-bats, the process, what he's doing for the team, getting on base. But for the guy, when he looks up at the scoreboard and sees numbers everywhere, and they evaluate themselves based on numbers, I don't want him to do that. I want him to get back to the process."

Last year, Maddon gave Jason Heyward a weekend off in an attempt to get him back on track at the plate. Schwarber doesn't need an extended break, Maddon said.

"I don't think it's there yet," Maddon said. "I think it's a different set of circumstances."

Montgomery's four-inning save

Montgomery gets another save

Mike Montgomery pitched four innings on Thursday to pick up his first career regular-season save. His only other save came in Game 7 of the World Series last year.

According to Elias, Montgomery is the first pitcher to earn a four-inning save in a game decided by a margin of fewer than five runs since Marcus Stroman, when the Blue Jays beat the Orioles on Sept. 26, 2014.

"The first save of the regular season -- it's a little different than two pitches in Game 7 [for a save], but I'll take it," Montgomery said Friday. "Yesterday was probably the best I felt as far as attacking the zone. I felt strong."

Maddon said Montgomery has developed a good curve and changeup that helps him deal with right-handed hitters.

Edwards Jr. K's side in the 11th

Edwards, future closer?

Speaking of relief work, Maddon said it's only a matter of time before Carl Edwards Jr. is closing games.

"He's still learning," Maddon said of the 25-year-old right-hander, who is in his second full season. "He's able to put a bad moment behind him. I think he believes there isn't anybody out there who he can't get out."

Maddon said they don't want to overwork Edwards, and they will try to avoid using him in back-to-back outings.

"The brain's there, the mindset is there," Maddon said. "The physicality, we just have to be patient with that."

Maddon's words of wisdom

Is there anything Maddon has learned in the last few months since winning the World Series?

"The primary thing you know is that it's not going to be the same path; it's not going to happen the same way," Maddon said. "Everybody was anticipating us to come out and just roll it. I never for a second anticipated that."

The other thing Maddon has learned is the importance of rest. He has seen positive effects on players such as Heyward, Ben Zobrist and Kris Bryant after they get a breather.

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.