(670 The Score) In the mind of second baseman Nico Hoerner, the Cubs merely being in the playoff race shouldn’t be deserving of praise.
Hoerner believes the club should be held to a higher standard to earn credit in the 2023 season, he said on the Parkins & Spiegel Show on Tuesday afternoon after being asked whether the campaign should be considered a failure if the Cubs don’t make the playoffs. Upon being asked that question, Hoerner paused for a long period of time, pondering how to judge the team before landing on his answer.
“It’s kind of weird to go into like a reflective mindset right now,” Hoerner said. “Ahh, yes. Yeah, you can take positives from something but still end up being short, right? We’re not here to compete or to like just to hang out and (be) like, ‘Hey, that was pretty good.’ That’s not what this is for. That’s not the standard of what this organization should be. That’s not what the guys in the clubhouse are going for. There are multiple guys in there that have won it all, and they’re not taking anything away from, ‘Hey, we’re over .500’ or things like that. Obviously, you take progress and take things trending in the right direction – that doesn’t go unnoticed. But we’re absolutely here to win. We have a roster that I believe in, character that I believe in and that’s what we’re here to do. If the standard is anything less than that, then I don’t think it ever happens.”
As the Cubs open a three-game series against the Pirates on Tuesday evening at Wrigley Field, they’re in a tight playoff race. Entering play Tuesday, the Cubs (78-72) and Reds (79-73) were tied for the third and final National League wild-card berth. They each sat a half-game behind the Diamondbacks (who hold the second wild-card spot) and a half-game in front of the Marlins and two games clear of the Giants. The Diamondbacks, Reds and Marlins each hold the tiebreaker over the Cubs.