Carl Edwards Jr. concedes his recent struggles are mental


Carl Edwards' wild pitch in the 6th inning on Monday allowed the winning run to score, and with only a one-game lead coming into Tuesday's action, there's little-to-no margin for error. One run can prove way too costly.

Before Tuesday's game, Edwards spoke to reporters about the moment, specifically how he has been feeling mentally. He likened it to writer's block.

"All of a sudden you wanted to say something, and you just forgot what you wanted to write about," Edwards said, drawing out the metaphor. "I’ve been doing something forever, and it’s like, 'what just happened?'"

The cause, according to both Joe Maddon and Edwards, is not mechanical. Along with describing it like losing your train of thought for a moment, Edwards said that bad outings can sometimes be a product of not being in the right headspace.

"I’m just maybe overthinking things instead of just going out there and having fun and being the guy that I always have been," Edwards said.

When he came in to Monday's game, it was a bit hastened by the fact that starter Jon Lester had to exit somewhat suddenly with a back spasm, and Maddon said that the wild pitch and eventual walk to Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia might have simply been mental. Maddon stressed to reporters Tuesday that Edwards' pre-pitch routine of doing things like taking deep breaths, focusing on his glove, and taking his time.

In his last 7 appearances, Edwards has an ERA of 1.73, even though he has been putting more runners on base than usual. In September, he has given up crucial runs against the Brewers twice, and in the two appearances between, Edwards has walked at least one batter each time.

His strikeout rate has held steady, however, so the wild pitch on Monday, Edwards said, was just a blip.

"It’s just one of those things where, you know, it just happens. I mean, once the ball leaves my hand it’s out of my control," Edwards said. "Yesterday, I had the one wild pitch, but I struck out [Curtis] Granderson. To me, I took that as a plus point for me."

Amidst a few of the bad innings of late, Cubs manager Joe Maddon pointed out that Edwards has also pitched some very key spots as well.

"Recently he struck out [Christian] Yelich in a big moment, he struck out [Jesus] Aguilar in a big moment, he struck out Granderson in a big moment. That’s pretty good stuff," Maddon said.

If the Cubs are going to hold their lead in the division and then prove successful in the playoffs, Edwards will have to be a vital piece of the bullpen puzzle. Reports on closer Brandon Morrow have been encouraging of late, but he remains on the disabled list. Both Edwards and Maddon are attuned to just how much it matters for him to pitch well.

"Yea, I feel it, but at the same time I can only do so much," Edwards said.

Maddon said Tuesday that getting Edwards back to pitching like himself will mean continuing to give him opportunities in the spots he is used to. For now, there will not be any backing down from high-leverage innings.

"I can’t even imagine doing well in October without him. So you gotta get the guy right," Maddon said. "You don’t run away from that kind of talent."

Maddon pointed to the fact that Edwards hit 97 mph on the radar gun on Monday, something he hasn't seen him do in some time. The important part will be for Edwards to get that velocity sailing through the strike zone.

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