"Sometimes you have hitters who walk, and sometimes you don't," Sveum said. "It's hard to make people into people who walk. For younger guys, it comes with maturity, with at-bats. With our older guys, [Nate] Schierholtz and [David] DeJesus, they do take their walks. Other people have track records of just not walking. You're not going to change the media guide. That's just the way it is."
What can they do?
"If you had a magic potion for this, everything would be hunky dory," Sveum said.
"It's something we have to fix, that's for sure," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "You can look at the component numbers of this team, and we're far better than the record indicates. For me, it comes down to a lack of on-base percentage. We don't get on base enough, we don't walk enough. Our OPS looks good, our slugging percentage looks good. The most important part of OPS is on-base percentage, and that part of the equation is something we're not doing. You don't see a lot of multi-run homers. We struggle to put a long inning together."
Hoyer said he and Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, feel they need to get on base and grind out at-bats.
"We won't be successful until we do," Hoyer said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.