CHICAGO -- Entering Friday's game against the Reds, the Cubs ranked 14th in the National League in runs scored, and had been held scoreless in their last 18 innings. What's a manager to do?
"Maybe we've become a little anxious in our approach at the plate and not putting ourselves in a position or frame of mind that the pitcher is on the ropes," Rick Renteria said Friday about the Cubs players. "I want these guys to stay relaxed. I think when they come to the ballpark, I went them to feel comfortable in their element. There's no reason for us as coaches to put them in a state of panic.
"They're as frustrated as everybody else," Renteria said. "The important thing is to step away from the frustration and just regroup and put their approaches back into play and maximize run production."
That hasn't been easy this season. The Cubs are batting .195 with runners in scoring position (only the Padres and D-backs are worse in the NL).
"I will be the last one to panic," Renteria said. "Offenses come and go. What I'm really happy with is our pitching has been doing a great job for us, especially our starting pitching."
Chicago's starting pitchers rank eighth in the NL, with a collective 3.98 ERA.
Renteria said he hopes his players learn from their early struggles, and he added it's imperative he and the coaching staff stay calm.
"There are no guarantees -- you can have the best approach in the world and you can square up a ball and still have someone make a play," he said. "The reality is the calmer they become in the box in key situations, the better they'll be. It's incumbent on us to make sure they see the calm in us, because if they see the panic in us, it's a bigger problem."
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.