Watch CBS News

Cubs' Joe Maddon: 'I Want Us To Be The Hunted'

(CBS) Cubs manager Joe Maddon has been open in expressing the goal he has for his team in the second half of the season: run down the NL Central-leading and baseball-best St. Louis Cardinals.

Chicago entered Tuesday trailing St. Louis by 8.5 games, and while that's a large deficit to make up, Maddon believes being the hunter is part of the process for an up-and-coming team like the Cubs.

He also believes there's a bigger end game for Chicago.

"To be the hunter, there's so much more of a loose attitude, there's a sense about that," Maddon said in an interview on the Spiegel and Goff Show on Tuesday. "But then then there's also something about being the hunted and protecting the moment. And that's something we must learn how to do also. Right now, we're still in the process of being hunters, trying to catch up to certain people.

"But one of these days, I want us to be the hunted and really understand what it takes to go out there and grab a lead and protect a lead and hold onto a lead and jump to the ballpark every day with those kinds of expectations. That's the next step.

"We do make some mistakes, we've made some mistakes, whether it's pitch selection or the ability to drive in runs. But you know what, we're growing every day. The guys are fabulous, and we keep getting better."

One of the young players whose talent is evident is 22-year-old catcher Kyle Schwarber, who was recently called up for a second time from the minors. Schwarber's proved he can handle himself at the plate this season, hitting .375 with a .974 OPS. His catching development is a work in progress, though Maddon's been pleased with his performance in catching two games since the All-Star break.

"I'll tell you this -- I've had a lot of scouts in the last draft saying he'll never be a major league catcher who are kind of like gulping right now," Maddon said. "Because he's made a lot of progress in a very short period of time. He's going to get smoother at a lot of different things. For the most part, I'm really pleased with what he's doing. More than anything, it's his present-tense stuff. Have you seen his trips to the mound that he's made in the latter part of the game with some veteran pitchers, putting him arm around the guy and speaking very lucidly?

"He's very clear. His eyes are clear. He's able to decipher what you're talking about, and I love that. So there's a lot of stuff. The technique's going to come through repetition."

That said, Maddon responded "not yet" when asked if Schwarber will catch Jon Lester anytime soon. Lester's personal catcher is veteran David Ross, a poor hitter whom Maddon loves for his leadership and ability to call games.

"I don't want Schwarbs to catch every day of the week," Maddon said of the current plan.

Listen to Maddon's full interview below. He also talks about why Starlin Castro's struggling, how vision for newly added reliever Rafael Soriano and much more.

Joe Maddon on the Spiegel and Goff Show

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.