(670 The Score) While a pair of Cubs stars in shortstop Javier Baez and third baseman Kris Bryant continue to struggle mightily at the plate, manager David Ross is preaching patience and reiterating his belief in them turning it around.
“This season is really unique where you don’t have a lot of time,” Ross said on the Laurence Holmes Show on Tuesday afternoon. “You’re not going to sit your star players and let them reset. You got to kind of let them work through some things and work through some struggles. Those guys are going to be the ones that are going to need to carry you in such a short season. You really rely on the success of your stars."
Baez is hitting .205 with six homers, 18 RBIs and a .611 OPS in 41 games. Bryant has been even worse, hitting .200 with two homers, four RBIs and a .588 OPS in 22 games. Bryant has been bothered by finger and hand ailments. First baseman Anthony Rizzo hasn't produced at his usual level either, hitting .217 with nine homers, 19 RBIs and a .778 OPS in 41 games.
Baez went 3-for-4 in the Cubs’ win against the Cardinals on Monday afternoon, which Ross hopes he can build off of.
“Getting a hit, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a blooper or a homer or an infield single, just the actual number at the end of the day, it feels really good to get a hit and get your numbers back to where you want them to be or trending in the right direction," Ross said. "I just like how Javy’s mentality was yesterday. He seemed to have a pep in his step the last few days, took a walk (Sunday) that I thought was really important, not chasing outside the zone. I watch and see if they’re swinging at strikes. Sometimes they feel lost and you got to keep running them out there. You talk to them. You try to have conversations and see where their heads are at and try to watch with a helpful eye from time to time either from the hitting coach perspective or from the manager’s perspective and just continue to communicate and talk to them.
“Baseball is a really hard game, and hitting is probably the most difficult thing in sports. And so you got to continue to have confidence in your players and lift them up and understand there’s going to be moments where things aren’t going to look pretty, they’re going to struggle. But you’ve got a former MVP in Kris Bryant, you’ve got a guy that was in the top three or four of MVP voting a few years ago in Javy (he finished second in the NL MVP race). You’ve got one of the most consistent players in Anthony Rizzo in the game. So you’re going to have your moments, but their numbers are going to come back to the mean. That’s why they’ve got the resume they have.”