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Today Theo Epstein joined 670 the Score to talk about the Cubs injury situation and everything surrounding th NL Central leaders. Here are few quotes from todays conversation.

Willson Contreras suffered a hamstring strain and is expected to be out until at least mid-September.

“He’s bouncing around, doing a ton of things on the field and doing really well,” Epstein said. “He’s a smart kid as well and understands just you feel like you can come back and play one baseball game doesn’t mean you’re in a position where you can come back and catch in a pennant race every day.

Here is his take on Jon Lester and how he is progressing.

“We’re just being smart, but both guys are progressing really nicely.”
“When a pitcher has a little bit of a fatigued shoulder, you rest him for a few days, and then things feel better,” Epstein said in an interview with Brian Hanley and Joe Ostrowski. “There’s a tendency to say, ‘Oh, great, he just miss one start and hop right back out there.’ Usually if you do that, there’s a price to pay down the road. And every day of no throw or every day of light throwing and allowing him to build up that shoulder pays dividends down the road. He’s in a really good place and getting a lot stronger.

“It seems that we should really him to get the position to not just come back and pitch but come back and be completely himself and be able to be himself with the hope that we pitch through October. The good news is he avoided any kind of real injury here. It’s truly a fatigue situation where he just needs a little bit of a breather to get stronger.”

Mike Montgomery replaced Lester in the rotation last night and picked up the win at Cincinnati. Lester is 8-7 with a 4.37 ERA and 1.27 WHIP on the season.

Epstein was asked about the Cubs hitting .247 with runners in scoring position, a mark that ranked 24th of the 30 MLB teams. The concern is if the Chicago Cubs this season are constantly relying on the long ball.

“I guess you technically could be, theoretically you could be,” Epstein said. “But it’s usually just a narrative. When you watch a whole baseball season, you always notice when a team doesn’t produce base hits with runners in scoring position. It’s one of the most frustrating things as a fan, and it leaves like a little scar, a little notch on the belt of your psyche. You don’t forget those things, and when you have too many of those little emotional nicks over the course of a couple weeks or a couple months, you really notice it and you start to get down on your team and you feel like it’s something wrong with our DNA, that we’re just not the type of team that can hit with runners in scoring position. When you are hitting with runners in scoring position, you tend not to notice it as much. You just think your guys are playing great and you’re high-fiving and you look at the team through the lens where everyone’s playing really well.

“For the most part, if you’re not hitting with runners in scoring position, a common refrain is you’re too reliant on the long ball. I want us to be as long ball-ish as we can be. I think the more home runs you hit, the better. Even in October, if you look at it, the conventional wisdom is you become more reliant on small ball and execution and you have to, because when you don’t, those things can cost you games. And that’s unacceptable. But the percentage of home runs that are hit and the percentage of home runs that determine games is just as significant if not more so in October.

“We need to do better executing with runners on third base and less than two outs. We need to do everything we can to lock in a consistent approach with runners in scoring position and use that whole field, but by and large, those things even out. Especially the runners in scoring position tends to even out over the course of a season. You just don’t notice it as much when it’s going your way.”

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Iamcubsessed with the Chicago Cubs. My Cubsession started at birth like most Cubs fans. Being a Chicago Cubs fan has taught me how to handle the ups and downs everyone comes across in their real lives. My sports motto has always been "Believe or Leave". I choose to Believe and cheer for the North Siders in a positive way, Go Cubs!