Ross still sees potential for Cubs to be better

The Cubs played their 50th game on Friday, which means the season will soon be one-third over.

All we've learned so far is it's not going well and the problems are numerous.

Heading into Saturday's action, the Cubs were 3-9 in their last 12 games and 8-18 since April 28.

"We're not where we want to be, I'm sure of that," manager David Ross said before the game. "I think there's still a lot of potential to be better in a lot of areas. We had some success early on and kind of hit a little bit of a rut this last month and haven't really gotten on any kind of roll. You can point to a lot of different areas where we can be better, but it's collectively as a group, I think."

When speaking to reporters at the start of the homestand, president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer pointed to the lack of success in clutch situations, both at the plate and on the mound. The Cubs are 5-15 in games decided by 2 runs or less.

They've also had a disturbing number of blowouts recently, being outscored 27-4 over two games at Minnesota on May 13-14, 14-4 in Philadelphia last weekend and 19-1 the past two days.

"Right now we're not getting the big hit in the right spot, we're not getting big out in the right spot," Hoyer said Tuesday. "I think we have the personnel to do it, but we haven't yet.

"You rarely feel in this game like you've got it figured out. So when you're struggling, that's times 10. You're always, 'How can we get out of this, what can we do better?' And that's how we spend our whole summer."

Ross fondly remembers Reds:

David Ross often jokes about his career as a light-hitting backup catcher. But the one team that gave him a chance to be a starter was the Reds. In 2005-06, Ross was Cincinnati's primary catcher. He hit 38 of his 106 career home runs during those two seasons.

"Thanks goodness for (manager) Jerry Narron. Gave me my first little runway to play," Ross said. "I got to catch Bronson Arroyo there, very close friend of mine and had a real impact on my career. I had probably my best year as a whole in Cincinnati, playing the most games and doing the most damage.

"I got to play on some fun teams, having (Adam) Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr., some real cool players that did neat stuff in my time. I definitely have a lot of good memories in Cincinnati."

Ross said he also learned backup catcher is where he belonged. The Reds released him in 2008, setting the stage for some good years with Atlanta, Boston and the Cubs.

First inning flaws:

Jameson Taillon kept the Reds off the board in Saturday's first inning, which was an accomplishment. Cubs pitchers had allowed first-inning runs in 11 of the previous 15 games. The staff ERA in the first inning is 5.76.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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