Cubs trying to stay in the moment in uncertain second half


PHOENIX — No one really knows what the Cubs will look like after the July 30 trade deadline. But the message the team is carrying into the second half is to stay in the moment.

After a rough ending to the first half, the Cubs took two of three games from the Diamondbacks. They can’t turn their season around in one series, but finding something to build off of going into the series against the Cardinals is a start.

“I think these guys are in the right frame of mind,” manager David Ross said after the Cubs’ 6-4 loss Sunday. “The things they’re doing, the energy they’re bringing, the way they’ve gone about their business, from the workout all the way through this series, it’s been positive.

“Good at-bats. I haven’t seen anybody not focused, not giving effort. Not giving anything away, to be honest with you. I [think] these guys are really excited about the second half and the potential of trying to get this thing back on track.”

The series victory was the Cubs’ first since June 11-13 against the Cardinals. Their 11-game losing streak put them in a deep hole in the National League Central, and getting back in the race won’t happen overnight.

“We really needed that reset at the All-Star break,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said Friday.

“Just the message of going 1-0. It’s so cliché, and it’s so easy to say, but it’s hard to do. And I think we can just embrace winning today and win the day and enjoy it.

“If you lose, you just come out the next day and try to win that day. Try to do the best you can do, take that mentality, especially for these next two weeks with all the stories that are gonna be flying.”

It’s no secret that the Cubs’ clubhouse could look significantly different after the end of the first half dramatically changed the course of their season. That could distract a team with as many veteran players as the Cubs could have on the move, but their approach to the second half also applies to the upcoming trade deadline.

“It’s definitely all mental,” right-hander Kyle Hendricks said. “You just have to keep reminding yourself, we’re gonna be playing baseball no matter what, and [trades] happen all the time. Guys come and go. It’s unfortunate; it’s part of the game. You get close with guys, and they leave.

‘‘But everyone that enters this clubhouse is a part of the family, whoever we have at the moment. And so that’s what we focus on. We focus on what we have now.”

“We also have to understand that this is a business,” catcher Willson Contreras said.

“I know that those decisions, we can’t control, but we have to keep looking forward. And we just have to find a way to keep playing better baseball more than anything else.”


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