The state of the state will come Thursday from Cubs president Theo Epstein.
But Epstein did manage to stop and chat with reporters before Tuesday night’s 3-0 loss to the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field. One night earlier, the Cubs dropped their 100th game of the season.
“I think I’ll wait until we’re done playing before I look back and reflect,” said Epstein, whose team finishes the season Wednesday afternoon. “We’d prefer about 65 losses. No one wants to have this type of season.
“Not many people around here have been through this many losses during a season. Just serve as motivation. It’s a very stark baseline of where we are and how much improvement we need to make.”
Yes, “stark” would be one word for it. The Cubs (60-101) lost their second straight 3-0 game to the Astros, a team that has a record of 55-106.
“Déjà vu of last night,” said Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who promised to go with an almost completely different lineup for the season finale. “Not a lot of quality at-bats again and left some guys in scoring position again, kind of typifying the whole season these last two nights.”
Epstein, however, praised Sveum for the job he did this year, a season in which the Cubs traded away 40 percent of their starting rotation in late July and lost another 40 percent after that to injury (Matt Garza) or an innings limit (Jeff Samardzija).
“Dale’s done a fantastic job,” Epstein said. “The 100 losses are not his fault in the least bit. He’s done a really good job of maintaining a winning culture as you possibly can during a season like this.”
Despite the loss, starting pitcher Chris Volstad turned in the Cubs’ first quality start since Sept. 20, as he worked 7 innings and gave up 5 hits and 2 runs, 1 earned.
“It did feel good,” said Volstad, who fell to 3-12. “Just being myself. I could have used a few more of those. It felt good to have one that way, especially to end it, going into the off-season with a positive.
“Some downs, some ups and downs. I think this season, I learned more than I have any other year, about myself and about baseball.”
About those lineup changes, it may be that only Starlin Castro starts among the regulars. If so, Castro will have played in all 162 games, starting 161.
“Most of those guys will pretty much have the day off tomorrow,” Sveum said. “Probably start Castro at shortstop. Might get him out of there early but see how that goes. For the most part, the season didn’t go very well, obviously, but a lot of these guys deserve to kick back. That’s kind of the way things are done, the way I think they should be done. Just let them sit back and let them watch a game for once.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.