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Joe Maddon says the 2017 Cubs are going to be “authentic”

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Cubs manager Joe Maddon likes the cosmic, big picture stuff. He comes up with themes and slogans for entire seasons or parts of seasons. Thinks about larger and broader motivational things and talks about them far more than he talks about the Xs and Os of baseball.

Last year, for example, he talked about expectations and “embracing the target” that others set for the Cubs, which runs contrary to how most people in baseball talk about external expectations. This year he’s talking up something else. From ESPN Chicago:

Coming up with a new slogan for a new challenge has been an offseason goal for the Cubs’ third-year manager. “Authenticity” is the foundation of his message.
“It’s a great word to bring an entire message from,” Maddon said. “Get in front of the group that first day in spring training. Just think of that word: ‘authentic’ and ‘authenticity’ and the positives that can be derived from that.”

I’m not sure how the concept of “authenticity” translates to baseball motivation and preparation. It seems like a key part of being an elite athlete is believing a lot of impossible things as a means of psyching yourself up to do things most people can’t do. And people smarter than me have talked a lot about how transparency and authenticity can, in some contexts, hinder leadership.

But I suppose figuring out how to navigate such philosophical minefields is why they pay Joe Maddon the big bucks.

Joe Maddon: “I have a defensive foot fetish.”

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The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.

Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.

Well then.

The Nationals have scored 62 runs during four Joe Ross starts

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If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.

Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.

Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.

Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.