After nearly a decade and a half of managing in the big leagues, Joe Maddon knows a rousing pep talk isn't going to pull his Chicago Cubs out of their current funk.
The Cubs, whose lead atop the National League Central dropped to two games Sunday with a third straight loss, just need to play better.
"There's nothing I can say to them that would make a difference right now," Maddon told reporters, including MLB.com's Carrie Muskat, following Sunday's 3-1 loss.
Throughout a humbling three-game sweep at Wrigley Field at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cubs mustered just three runs, continuing an offensive slide that seemingly began when the calendar flipped to September. Only two teams have managed fewer runs this month than the Cubs, who have hit just .224/.302/.342 in September, scraping together two runs or fewer in seven of their last 10 contests.
"We aren't hitting," Maddon said. "We came off winning two in a row in Pittsburgh and before that, we won six in a row, and in this series, we chose not to hit. Hopefully, we'll start hitting soon."
Hopefully, someone does, at least. None of Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, or Jon Jay have an OPS above .690 this month, and rookie second baseman Ian Happ is the only Cubs player (minimum 30 plate appearances) producing at an above-average clip in September.
Still, this is just how it goes sometimes, Jason Heyward explained.
"What happened? Nothing happened. Baseball happened," Heyward said.
"You go over and ask that (Brewers) clubhouse what happened when they got swept by Cincinnati - it's the way the game goes," Heyward said. "It's baseball. I'm not saying, 'So what?' but that's part of the game. Teams will pitch well sometimes, sometimes you're not going to hit well, sometimes balls will go at people, sometimes it'll be what it is."