Theo Epstein 'Embarrassed' by Cubs' Road Record: 'Has to Change Immediately'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2019

Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein before a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is none too pleased with his team's performance on the road this season. 

After the Cubs fell 8-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night to drop to a National League-worst 21-33 in road games, Epstein discussed the team's woes away from home on 670 The Score's Mully & Haugh Show:

"We're obviously trying to figure it out, but if we knew what it was, we would've fixed it. I will say it hasn't been a hallmark of this group. We've played well on the road most years in this window. But this year, honestly, we're embarrassed by the road performance, not having won a road series since May 20. And to me, more troubling even than that is we've had seven road series against the division and we're 0-7. We've lost every single road series against division opponents.

"That's just not going to win anything. That's not going to be competitive in a division, if every time you go play a division opponent on the road, you lose. That has to change. That has to change immediately. We just hope the intensity of a pennant race and the desire of this group to rewrite the script from what happened last year and win the division will carry the day and that our talent will carry the day."

St. Louis Cardinals @Cardinals

Oppo Taco! 🌮 Matt Wieters with 10+ HRs in a season for the 7th time. https://t.co/laEKh5v1uO

Despite their issues on the road, the Cubs trail the Cardinals by just one game for the NL Central lead, and they are tied for the top wild-card spot in the NL with the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies.

Several other factors work in Chicago's favor, including the fact that their 36-18 home record is the second-best mark in the NL behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs' plus-64 run differential is also second in the NL to L.A.'s plus-171.

The Cubs have reached the playoffs in each of the past four seasons, which is a run that includes two NL Central titles and a World Series championship in 2016.

During their four-year playoff streak, the Cubs have never gone worse than 44-37 on the road in a single season.

A stacked lineup led by catcher Willson Contreras, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, shortstop Javier Baez and third baseman Kris Bryant, as well as a strong rotation anchored by Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester makes Chicago one of the most dangerous teams in the NL regardless of its problems on the road.

Provided the Cubs can figure things out and make the playoffs, they may be the one team in the NL that is best equipped to prevent the Dodgers from reaching the World Series for the third consecutive year.