‘Losing sucks’: Willson Contreras trying to lift Cubs amid tough stretch
Entering the 9th inning of Game 2 Saturday, the Cubs were out-hitting the Dodgers 5-1.
Yet the Dodgers carried a 4-2 lead into the final frame. Much of that was due to the 8 walks by Cubs pitchers and the 1 hit was a big one — a 3-run double by Mookie Betts.
Betts wound up getting another hit in the top of the 9th — a 2-run homer — and the Dodgers closed out a doubleheader sweep of the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
That’s the way things have gone for the Cubs lately.
The team has dropped 4 straight games and 13 of the last 16 contests.
“Man, it’s really tough,” Willson Contreras said Saturday evening. “It’s really tough to even watch, to be honest. I know we’re trying our best to win some ballgames but things are not working our way.
“The only thing we can control is the way we come and go about our business. Come down here day in and day out and do our best. If it goes our way, that’s really good. But losing sucks, I’ll tell you that. That’s all I can say.”
Contreras did all he could to help his team try to pull out the win in the second game of Saturday’s double dip. He scored both Cubs runs — in the 1st inning on a fielder’s choice after he tripled and then again in the 5th on a long home run while using his brother’s bat.
A swing of beauty. pic.twitter.com/IzYqhKQ6Fz— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) May 8, 2022
Serving as the DH, Contreras finished the game 3-for-4 out of the leadoff spot.
Contreras has taken on more of a leadership role with this team over the last couple of seasons and said he was hoping to spark his teammates — and the Wrigley Field crowd — Saturday night.
“I’m trying to lift this team up,” Contreras said. “I’m trying to do my best to pass my energy to everybody. That’s just me. I’m trying to support my team to have everybody’s back because I know it’s been a really tough stretch.
“Like I told Nico earlier today, a lot of times, we focus so much on results that we end up frustrated instead of enjoying the moment, enjoying playing baseball. The results are going to happen. But as a human, we fall into following or wanting the results right away. A lot of times, baseball doesn’t work that way.”
Contreras said the Cubs dugout has done a good job of picking each other up recently, chatting and sharing ideas between at-bats.
Since the 21-0 rout over the Pirates on April 23, the Cubs have averaged less than 2 runs a game (21 runs over their last 11 games).
“We’re trying to get feedback from everybody — that’s something we’ve been working on,” Contreras said. “I feel like the adjustments are not there yet. Obviously the weather plays against us a little bit. I think we have to continue to have better at-bats.”
The Cubs have also been the victim of bad breaks lately. In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Cubs barreled up quite a few balls against Dodgers pitchers that resulted in lineouts and fly outs.
In Game 2, there was the controversial Yan Gomes play down the right field line that could have been at least a double and instead the at-bat ended in a fly out.
The final out of the nightcap was Jason Heyward’s 104.6 mph rocket off former Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel — a flyout that was knocked down by the wind instead of a 3-run homer. The expected batting average on the ball was a whopping .930.
“I mean, we’re obviously very frustrated,” Gomes said. “We’re giving ourselves a chance to win so you have to take that. I feel like once we start getting our momentum back, start getting our confidence back, some of those plays are going to start coming our way. We’ll be able to have a pretty quick turnaround.”
The Cubs aren’t trying to make a case that they’ve simply been the victim of bad luck over the last couple of weeks. They understand they’re beating themselves at times, too.
“You give a good team like that, we had 9 walks,” David Ross said. “Gonna be tough to win those type of games. Again, still, we had some guys out there [on the bases]. Just not be able to get that big blow — base hit for us to push some across.”
The Cubs finish up the series against the Dodgers Sunday night before a tough West Coast road trip to San Diego and Arizona next week.