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Joe Maddon Stresses Importance Of Cubs Getting Justin Wilson 'Right' Again

(CBS) Lefty reliever Justin Wilson has disappointed since the Cubs acquired him in a deadline deal with the Tigers on July 31.

Entering play Tuesday, Wilson has a 6.35 ERA in eight appearances with Chicago and has created concern by walking nine batters in 5 2/3 innings. That stat line includes walking a combined four batters across his last two outings while recording just one out.

Wilson was dominant with the Tigers for the first four months of the season, registering a 2.68 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and walking 16 batters in 40 1/3 innings. So what's wrong now?

Cubs manager Joe Maddon isn't certain, but he believes he knows what isn't wrong.

"Really, it's not been a part of his past," Maddon said in an interview with Matt Spiegel and Danny Parkins on 670 The Score on Tuesday. "He'll get wild once in a while but not to the extent he is right now. I truly don't believe it's mechanical. I think if you're looking for mechanical (troubles), you're looking in the wrong spot. It's probably just coming over (to the Cubs) right now, trying a little bit too hard.

"I'm of the ilk when he's at this point, it's not mechanical. I really don't like when -- and I'm not saying he is -- when guys flock to the video screen when they've had a bad outing, looking, seeking this mechanical answer and it's not. It's what you're thinking. It's how you're seeing things. It's how quickly you're breathing. It's all that stuff. That's what makes the difference. Because normally if you do have a mechanical flaw, it's because you're not thinking properly to begin with."

Maddon expressed confidence that Wilson will overcome his problems, maybe with the help of getting himself right in a low-leverage situation. Maddon also acknowledged the importance of Wilson in the Cubs' bullpen, as his struggles can have a trickle-down effect of putting other relievers in less favorable situations.

"The biggest thing is to get Justin Wilson back in the strike zone," Maddon said. "I'll tell you man, if you sit back in the dugout and watch this guy throw, it's the easiest 97 I've ever seen.  You watch him throw the baseball and you think it's in the low 90s and you look up there, and it's 96, 97. Once we get him right, the whole group could really take off. Because this guy gets out righties, and that's the beauty of him too.

"It's just about confidence and trying to get them (relievers) on the right guys. And you need the whole group to be efficient, otherwise you're going to wear people out. So moving forward, I just really want to get them all involved at the right time, getting Justin throwing strikes again."

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