LOS ANGELES -- The Cubs went 6-4 immediately following the All-Star break, then won just eight of the next 29 games. A lot of the struggle has been because of roster turnover prior to the Trade Deadline, but there's also been a recurring theme.
"It's one thing if you have a horrible pitching staff and can't hold teams down, but all year, we've had a lot more quality starts than we did at this time last year," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said, "and the bullpen isn't as close to being as bad as it was last year.
"You hate to keep bringing it up, because the players hear it, but the bottom line is when you bat .220 with men in scoring position, those close games, you can't add on, and you get people out there and lose by two, lose by one," Sveum said of the Cubs, who have the worst average with RISP in baseball.
"Those cyber people don't say it's a big stat, but it is a big stat," he said of batting average with runners in scoring position. "It's timely hitting that will end up winning a lot of games for you."
Still, losing two of the starting pitchers in Scott Feldman and Matt Garza plus losing Alfonso Soriano, who was traded to the Yankees, and David DeJesus has made it tough.
"It's not a mystery that things get a little haywire after the trades, but we know the process and we'll reap the rewards next year or the year after that," Sveum 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.