CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have made the most of the month of August over the past two seasons, which led to the franchise's first World Series championship in 108 years in 2016 before the Cubs reached the National League Championship Series last season.
But if the Cubs are to continue their stretch of deep postseason runs that dates back to 2015, they will have to find their footing as they get rolling into August. A team that has battled inconsistency all season must hope that this month is as good as it has been in the past.
But to do so, manager Joe Maddon said his team must do its part.
The Cubs managed one run and three hits in a 6-1 loss to the San Diego Padres on Thursday as the Cubs continued their up and down play just a night after scoring nine runs. Meanwhile, the Padres snapped a seven-game losing streak Thursday, when they scored all their runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
Now, the Cubs -- who find themselves in a tight battle with Milwaukee at the top of the NL Central -- will hope for a better result Friday.
"We do need to make it our time," Maddon told reporters earlier this week, according to the Chicago Tribune. "It's something we normally do. We haven't really stretched it out.
"We haven't played to our optimal levels since the (All-Star) break."
The Cubs will look to start building momentum when they continue their four-game series. Jose Quintana will start for the Cubs on Friday with hopes to bounce back from a rough start in his last outing against the St. Louis Cardinals. Quintana (9-7, 4.26 ERA) surrendered six runs in the first frame of a three-inning outing in which he threw 74 pitches and allowed six hits. Quintana earned a no-decision in his lone career start against the Padres, allowing three runs in seven innings last season.
While the Cubs are hoping to make another meaningful August run, the Padres are starting the month in need of a fresh start. After finishing July with a 5-20 record, San Diego hopes to put their struggles behind them, starting this weekend in Chicago.
Before Thursday's series opener, the Padres held a closed-door meeting that included some clearing of the air, which players told the San Diego Union-Tribune included flushing negativity.
Manager Andy Green said its meeting marked a necessary step for a struggling team.
"There's obviously been frustration in the clubhouse through this stretch," Green told reporters, according to the Union-Tribune. "Players, coaches, everybody gets frustrated when you go through a stretch like this. What I do see is more and more guys rising up and saying, 'Enough is enough. We're better than this. It's time to play better baseball.' "
Thursday's victory was a step in the right direction.
Tyson Ross will start for San Diego on Friday. Ross (6-8, 4.41) has only one victory in his last 10 outings and allowed four runs in five innings his last outing against the Arizona Diamondbacks in which he picked up a no-decision. Ross is 1-1 with a 3.05 ERA in four career outings (three starts) against the Cubs.