Renteria staying positive despite Cubs’ brutal first month
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter April 30, 2014 10:39PM
The Cubs finished their worst opening month since 2002 with the second-most losses in franchise history. Below are the Cubs’ worst records through April (minimum 15 games):
Note: Worst Cubs record for April (min. 10 games) was 1-9 in 1944.
Updated: May 1, 2014 12:05AM
CINCINNATI — Time to start the trade rumor mill for the Cubs’ annual sell-off.
Wait a minute — that started in spring training.
No one outside the Cubs’ clubhouse was under any illusion that the team was going to be world-beaters.
Even after a 9-4 victory against the Reds on Wednesday, the history watch is on as they enter May. The Cubs (9-17) have struggled so consistently in so many areas that they could be in the running to beat the franchise record of 103 losses.
They’ve yet to win a series in nine tries, and they’re second only to the 1997 Cubs in most losses through April.
That team, which lost its first 14 games, actually rallied to win two series before May.
“We need to be able to put it together,” said Jeff Samardzija, who’s emblematic of the Cubs’ woeful opening month, going winless in six starts despite a 1.98 ERA.
“I think we learned the first month to win big-league ballgames you’ve got to put all phases of the game together. Not just one can show up. You’ve got to pitch, play defense, and you’ve got to hit. And these good teams that we’re playing, they do all three, and they do it every day.”
First-year Cubs manager Rick Renteria has managed to keep his positive face on for public consumption, even if the serenity has been betrayed by his two ejections during a month in which only six other managers have been tossed once.
“Every day is a class day. Every day is a test,” he said over the weekend in Milwaukee. “Quite frankly, we still have five months left of baseball, and we want to just keep pushing.”
Here’s what the season has included just through the first month:
◆ Back-to-back walk-off losses to open the season.
◆ The first doubleheader in 52 years in which the Cubs were shut out in both games.
◆ A minor-league shortstop (Javy Baez) who got more attention for a blowup with a teammate than anything a player on the big-league roster did all month.
◆ A closer controversy that’s more amusing than controversial because the Cubs have created save chances in only five games.
◆ A Wrigley Field birthday cake controversy that overshadowed a rare series split last week.
“Actually, it’s everything I thought it would be,” Renteria said of his first regular-season month on the job. “It’s a lot of work. A lot of ups and downs. I’m hoping that we’ll have more ups than downs moving forward.”