Cubs News

‘It’s not early forever’: Jed Hoyer understands the urgency surrounding 2023 Cubs

11 months agoTony Andracki

As the Cubs returned from their longest road trip in years, Jed Hoyer sat in the third base dugout and spoke candidly about the state of his team.

After a series win over the Padres at Wrigley Field in late-April, the Cubs sported a 14-10 record and vibes were high on the North Side. 

The Cubs then went on the road and lost 6 of the next 7 to the Marlins and Nationals (5 of which were 1-run losses). Overall, Hoyer’s team is 6-16 since that point.

There is still a week left in May, but the recent slide certainly cast a dark cloud over the expectations for this team as the summer wears on.

“How we play over the next month is very important,” Hoyer said. “It’s not early forever. … If you look at our season, we played great early against really tough teams and lost a lot of close games in a stretch that we should’ve won a lot more games. It obviously hurt us.

“…Ultimately when I look back on our season, having that run of 1-run losses really knocked us back. We’re gonna have to dig out from that. The nature of baseball is you can’t put too much pressure on any one section of the season. But yes, I do think it’s not early forever. We need to bank some wins.”

The Cubs (21-26) started their homestand on the right foot Tuesday night with a 7-2 win over a red-hot Mets team that came into town on a 5-game winning streak. The key now will be stacking wins — and series victories — in a row.

Over that 6-16 stretch, the Cubs’ biggest issues have come in close games. In games decided by 1 or 2 runs over that period, the Cubs are just 1-11.

Overall, the Cubs have the worst winning percentage in baseball in 1-run games this season (2-10 record).

“As a team, the story of our season so far is we’ve struggled in high-leverage situations both offensively and pitching-wise,” Hoyer said. “Oftentimes those situations are late in games. We’ve struggled to execute in those situations. That’s the reason our record isn’t flipped or even better.

“We just have to do better as a team in those situations. I think we will.”

Hoyer pointed to some of the peripheral numbers that indicate some of the fluky nature of the season to date.

Entering play Tuesday, the Cubs rank 6th in offensive wOBA (Weighted On-base Average) and their pitching staff boasts the 7th best wOBA in the league. 

Essentially, that means the Cubs rank among the best teams in baseball in creating run-scoring situations on offense and limiting run-scoring situations with their pitching staff.

Hoyer is optimistic that it will all even out at some point.

“If you had told me at the beginning of the year that we were performing well both offensively and pitching-wise, I would’ve thought our record would be a lot different,” Hoyer said. “But it really does matter when you do those things. Right now, we’re not getting the big hit in the right spot. We’re not getting the big out in the right spot.

“I think we have the personnel to do it. We just haven’t yet. Ultimately, you are what your record says you are.”

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