CHICAGO -- With the All-Star break officially over, the Cubs began the second half of the season Friday hoping to continue with the same hot play they displayed prior to the Midsummer Classic.
The Cubs, 33-52 and in fourth place in the National League Central, entered Friday's series opener against the D-backs 9-4 in their last 13 games. It is the best 13-game stretch for Chicago since the Cubs posted the same mark from August 3-16 of last season.
The difference, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said, is consistency. Rookie first baseman Anthony Rizzo has entrenched himself in the three-hole to help solidify the lineup, while the entire pitching staff has been solid.
Sveum said he didn't think the break would cool off the Cubs' momentum, saying returning to the park gets players' adrenaline going, similar to Spring Training. The Cubs' recent success also is why Sveum said he didn't have any team meetings prior to the beginning of the second half.
"Especially if the team's playing well, you don't want to put anything in anybody's head, because you might say something stupid," Sveum said. "You stay away from that stuff as much as you possibly can, especially if a team's playing well and going into the second half on a good note, too."