Cubs frustrated by skid, but won't panic

Cubs frustrated by skid, but won't panic

Cubs frustrated by skid, but won't panic
CHICAGO -- Frustrated.

That's the best way to describe how everyone involved with the Cubs' 12-game losing streak entering Monday feels. The players, coaches, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer.

"I'm really frustrated, along with everybody else," Epstein said Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field before the Cubs played the Padres.

"It's frustrating," Hoyer said. "You never want to go through this, and when you do, you don't get a lot of sleep."

The Cubs entered Monday's series opener against the Padres with 12 straight losses, their longest drought since opening the 1997 season 0-14. It also is the seventh losing streak of 12 or more games and the 15th double-digit losing streak in franchise history.

Although Epstein and Hoyer said they were frustrated with the losing streak, both stressed they are committed to building long-term success.

"It's important for us to stay disciplined and for us to take a step back, too, and realize that what we're trying to accomplish here requires some time and some changes and some growth as an organization," Epstein said. "And to make sure that, even as we're scuffling badly during this period, that we don't lose sight of where we're trying to get."

Epstein admitted he envisioned tough stretches coming this season, his first in Chicago, but said he didn't foresee anything quite like this. The Cubs played well earlier this month, Epstein noted -- they won a series against the Braves and split a two-game set with St. Louis -- and said he doesn't feel the Cubs are this bad.

"I don't think this is indicative of the type of team we are. I think we're clearly better than this and we'll get back to that level," Epstein said. "When you're not the most talented team on the field on a regular basis, you have to play well to compete. And if you don't play well, you run the risk of stretches like this."

As for tinkering the roster, Hoyer said the club regularly has conversations about what they can do to shake things up, but added late May is not a big trading time. Because of that, most of the Cubs' options come from within. Hoyer said the Cubs "don't have the most flexible roster in the world," and said he wouldn't drop players just to drop them.

One internal option fans have been clamoring for is first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who is hitting .354 with 17 home runs in 48 games at Triple-A Iowa. Epstein and Hoyer said they don't want to rush Rizzo, repeating that the 22-year-old's development is most important.

"We're not bringing him up here as a changer of our fortunes," Hoyer said. "That's not fair to him."

For now, Hoyer said the Cubs will lean on veterans to help lead them out of their current funk that, he and Epstein hope, is part of the maturation process for an organization they're trying to rebuild.

"This is a real painful bump that we're going through right now to get there. My hope is, certainly, in years further, we're looking back at this as a character-building thing," Hoyer said. "Right now, it doesn't feel like character building at all. It feels like a 12-game losing streak, and we need to get through it."