Benching Schwarber didn't help Cubs' hitting slump
Cubs manager David Ross wouldn't disclose the reason he pulled Kyle Schwarber from Sunday's loss to the Twins after the second inning.
But it's reasonable to assume it has something to do with Jake Cave's line drive off the wall in left field that Schwarber misplayed into a triple. With a week left in the regular season, it seems likely Ross wanted to send a message to the entire team that it's time to get focused.
"I'd like to keep that in house, if you guys don't mind," Ross said after the game. "I'd like to keep that between me and Schwarbs."
That one defensive play had no impact on the Cubs' 4-0 loss to Minnesota. Even if Cave been held to a double, he would have scored on Josh Donaldson's single three batters later.
The ever-present sidebar with the Cubs is the lengthy slump by players who were projected to be their best hitters, including Schwarber (.190), Kris Bryant (.197), Javy Baez (.205) and Anthony Rizzo (.212). The Cubs scored 2 runs in three games against the Twins.
Schwarber has just 3 singles in his last 46 at bats and hasn't hit a home run since Sept. 1.
"When you're not hitting, it's just tough," Ross said. "Baseball's not a whole lot of fun when you're scuffling a little bit, trying to get those runs across. We won some good games, but haven't really lit up offensively like we would expect to.
"Schwarbs is on that list. Working his tail off in the cage every day, grinding, one of our leaders on this team. Kyle brings it every day."
Schwarber seemed to take the benching in stride. He could be seen cheering in the dugout later in the game as Cameron Maybin played left field.
"I don't see myself as the kind of person that's going to pout," Schwarber said. "I took a moment for myself and I'm not going to be the guy that's going to be selfish and just sit there and feel bad for himself. There's still a game going on. It's bigger than me.
"I wanted to be out there and just keep supporting these guys, because this game's a grind. It's not a very easy game. To keep supporting our guys and try to get the win at the end of the day, that's how I view myself. Not a guy who's going to sit back and feel sorry for myself, but try to make an impact anywhere I can."
Schwarber also declined to share what he and Ross discussed after the second inning, but accepted the blame for a poor defensive play.
It wasn't egregiously bad or anything. The ball took a hop off the wall and bounced past Schwarber. He jogged after it and made a decent throw to third. A perfect throw might have nailed the speedy Cave, but triples to left field are rare in baseball, especially at Wrigley Field.
"Me personally, I don't think the guy should have gotten to third base there," Schwarber said. "I put (pitcher) Yu (Darvish) in a tough spot and I just don't think that guy should have got to third base. I put him in a bad spot, I put the team in a bad spot there.
"Just got to learn from it and move on. Obviously it's not the ideal way to learn from it. But you know what? I think that I can take a lot of different punches. I pride myself on myself being a team guy and a guy who's going to play this game 120 percent every play.
"I think my teammates understand that. I think Rossy understands that as well. Just moving on from it. Looking forward to Pittsburgh."