By Bruce Levine
(CBS) — The song remains the same for hard-luck starter Jeff Samardzija.
Meager run support has been a staple for the hapless Cub offense. Samardzija has allowed four earned runs in total over his four starts this season. The luckless starter has two losses and two no-decisions to show for his excellent work.
Manager Rickey Renteria was upset with what he thought was not the best approach to Friday’s game by his club.
“I concern myself on the way we approach the game,” he said after taking an extra 10 minutes after the game to relate his feelings to the team. “If our focus is good and we are really doing what we are supposed to be doing at the plate and in the field, I am good with it.”
Evidently that was not the case after the Cubs lost their fifth straight game.
“Today, I thought we were a little sloppy “the manager related. “Jeff really kept us in the ball game throughout. I think we will do better.”
Asked if he directly talked to the entire team, Renteria dismissed the question. He quickly took the next question in his post-game press meeting. Renteria has been a teacher and supportive advocate of his evolving club. Apparently he had seen too much grousing by hitters taking third strikes and defensive lapses on Friday to stay patient,after the 4-1 loss to the Reds.
The Cubs snapped a 24-inning scoreless streak with an RBI single off of the bat of Luis Valbuena in the seventh inning. That was one of the few bright spots, other than Samardzija’s continued excellence.
“It is just a matter of focus,” Renteria said “I think our players know it. This is a long season, but the reality is good clubs grind out every game. That is what we want to become. We are going to go out there, and if we fall short in the way we approach the game we will talk about it if we have to. Then we will deal with it.”
Renteria hammered home to the media and his players that in a division like the National League Central you cannot afford to take any games off.
“The team today looked a little down, ” Valbuena said. “I don’t know the reason why, but tomorrow is a new day. He (Renteria ) told us he was not happy because the team he saw today was not the team he say this spring.”
The Cubs 4-11 start includes not having won back-to-back games or a series thus far in 2014.