Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein says the team has a lot of work ahead of them over the final weeks of the regular season heading into the playoffs, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN.
“We have to do a lot of things to get where we want to go,” said Epstein on Friday. “We have so much work ahead of us just to accomplish our first goal. … Success or failure of this regular season really rides on how we play the next 16 games.”
Right now, the Cubs are in the driver’s seat in terms of playoff positioning. Chicago came into play on Saturday with a record of 81-66 and sat three games in front of the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the National League Central Division.
However, Epstein says the Cubs need to do some things down the stretch to ensure that they actually make the postseason.
“We have to keep our starters going, getting them deep in games and we have to get our bullpen going,” he said. “Bullpens go through peaks and valleys and we’re in a valley right now. It’s unfortunate because this is the time of year you want to be clicking on all cylinders, but things can change quickly. You get 1-2 guys locked in … the next thing you know you look up and you’re in good shape. It’s a Murphy’s Law type thing in our pen.”
Last year, Chicago was all but guaranteed a playoff spot at this point in the season, and Epstein likes those types of seasons.
“You have years where most things go your way and you have years where more things than usual seem like a challenge,” Epstein said. “My favorite pennant races are the ones when you’re sitting in the bleachers on Sept. 16. I kind of like those.”
The Cubs are looking to repeat as World Series champions after having not won a title since 1908 before last year.