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Joe Maddon's future with the Cubs may depend on a 2nd-half turnaround

Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Baseball

CLEVELAND -- After being interviewed by a couple of Chicago reporters Monday at the All-Star Game, Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu had a question he needed answered.

"Are the Cubs going to make the playoffs or what?" the former Cub asked.

Well, probably. Uh, maybe. Who knows?

"They're the most talented team in that division," LeMahieu said. "Kind of a rough stretch right now, huh? They'll be fine."

Cubs fans aren't the only ones puzzled by the team's lack of consistency in the first half. All around the All-Star Game festivities, baseball people were asking what has happened to the Cubs and why they can't separate from the mosh pit known as the National League Central.

After a four-day break before the second half begins Friday, will they be ready to get their mojo back?

 

"I won't tell you we're ready; we've got to play and get it back," shortstop Javier Baez said. "We know it's on us right now. We've got to go back to pitch by pitch and inning by inning. Not forget about winning, but we decide who wins in the nine innings.

"First of all, we're the Chicago Cubs and everybody talks about us even before the World Series. A lot of people and fans are expecting big things from us. Obviously we're trying, but we had a lot of pressure on us. Once the season started (that pressure) kind of went down a little bit, (but) the struggle was there and it kind of came up again.

"It's part of the game, making mistakes, failure. We've just got to make adjustments and get back on track."

The onus is on manager Joe Maddon to make sure it gets back on track in the final year of a contract the sides agreed not to renegotiate until the season ends. Several national media members at the All-Star Game spoke of Maddon's future as a fait accompli, with the only question whether he'll last the rest of the season.

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