WASHINGTON – It was expected to be a rough season for the Chicago Cubs, which doesn’t mean all the losing has been easy to take for first-year manager Dale Sveum.
“I’m not going to say I sleep perfectly every night,” Sveum said. “There are definitely some sleepless nights but (I get) enough sleep, I guess. Then there are the nights you sleep a lot because you haven’t slept in a while.”
The Cubs entered play Thursday with a 51-85 record, ahead of only the Houston Astros (42-95) in all of baseball.
Not much has gone right this season, and when the Cubs started to play better, their roster was gutted at the non-waiver trade deadline.
The Cubs are dead last in the National League in hits, walks and on-base percentage. They are second to last in runs scored and team batting average.
In the first year of his tenure Sveum is being judged on how he is able to teach a young roster and whether or not he can get them to buy into changes vital for future success. At some point, though, wins and losses will determine his job security.
Whether that takes another year or two remains to be seen.
“I don’t really dwell on when I’m going to be judged,” Sveum said. “I’m just trying to be a guy that right now has to teach. You have to keep your coaching staff positive as well. It’s not that easy for a staff sometimes, and understand that this is where we are and these kids are trying to survive and we have to make it easier on them to survive.”
The rigors of the season appeared to show Wednesday when Sveum argued with home-plate umpire Larry Vanover because he thought Vanover was staring down the Cubs dugout. After the game he was testy when asked about Chris Volstad’s struggles.
“I am a very patient guy so that’s one thing I have going for me,” Sveum said, “But I ain’t going to lie to you, patience will only go so far too where you do snap. Usually when I do it not too many people will see it except maybe the individual (being talked to).”