Jon Lester knows there was widespread "panic" in Chicago after the Cubs went into Saturday's game against the White Sox with a 5-15 record in their last 20 road games.
But Lester said the Cubs players aren't going to feed into the narrative, knowing there will be some difficulties during any 162-game season.
"We all know each other, we all know what we're doing, we all know what to expect of each other," Lester said after the Cubs' 6-3 win over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.
"We talk about it in spring training, how long the season is and how much of a roller coaster it is, and you're going to go through ups and downs. That means pitching, that means defense, that means offense.
"You're going to have terrible homestands. You're going to have really good away games. You're going to have these ups and downs in the continuity of the season that make baseball so unique.
"I don't think anybody in the clubhouse is worried about where we're at. We've just got to dig ourselves (out of) our own hole right now and focus on each other and what we can do day in and day out to win baseball games.
"The outside noise, the panic, and all that other stuff won't affect us."
The Cubs committed three errors in the win, continuing their sloppy defensive play. A horrible throw by Addison Russell on a routine grounder started it off, and David Bote and Javier Baez also made errors, while Kyle Schwarber booted a ball in left that wasn't an error.
"We could've been a little bit cleaner," manager Joe Maddon said. "That's one thing we have to work on in the second half. I like formulaic wins when you play catch properly and don't chase pitches out of the strike zone. That's the next level for us, and it's within us."
Lester said he didn't fault players for making aggressive mistakes, which is what he feels the Cubs have been doing.
"I feel like our mistakes are just guys trying a little bit too hard," he said. "I don't think they are mental mistakes. I think it's just athletes being athletes, guys trying to make that play and save the game. I can't ever fault somebody for being aggressive and messing up. I will always take that (instead of) erring on the side of caution. That stuff will clean up.
"We're too good of athletes, too good of a team for it not to. I think our best baseball is coming through."
President Theo Epstein said changes probably will come via trades, but nothing is imminent. The Cubs are more focused for now on getting more out of what they already have.
"Everyone is working together to find solutions," he said.
One of the solutions is getting Ben Zobrist back. Epstein said the veteran is expected to return from the restricted list at some point, though he declined to put a timetable on it.
Lester said the Cubs obviously would welcome Zobrist back but added it was too soon to start thinking about it because it won't happen for a while.
"Any time you get a veteran presence like Zo back it's always a good thing," he said. "But right now we can't worry about he end of the season. We've got to worry about (Sunday) and Friday. When Zo does come back and helps us out, we can talk about then. But we've got a long ways to go before then."
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