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The Good, The Bad and The Unlikely: Injuries and Inconsistencies Mounting for Cubs

Things are looking rouch for the Chicago Cubs after their ninth straight multi-game series loss at Wrigley Field Sunday night, while injuries and inconsistencies mount. With the exception of a two-game sweep of the crosstown rival White Sox, the Cubs haven’t won a series since May 12.

The Good, The Bad, and The Unlikely: Cubs Injuries and Inconsistencies Mount

The Good: Patchwork Pitching Staff Holding Together Despite Injuries

Jordan Wicks joined fellow rookie Ben Brown on the injured list days after Brown fell to a neck strain. The opening in the rotation will put a strain on Chicago’s already taxed bullpen. With a host of long-inning arms at his disposal, manager Craig Counsell is likely to try to combine pitchers. The most likely scenario would be Kyle Hendricks and Drew Smyly, with either taking the mound to start the game.

On Sunday, the Cubs selected Ethan Roberts‘s contract from Triple-A Iowa. To make room for Roberts on the 40-man roster, the club designated Jose Cuas for assignment.

Despite injuries, the Cubs staff has held up pretty well recently. Recently recalled Colten Brewer and Keegan Thompson have provided some steady relief, as have Luke Little, Tyson Miller, Hendricks, and Smyly.

The Bad: Ups and Downs Continue to Plague the Offense

The Cubs’ hitting woes continue to be the biggest concern for Counsell and his staff as they search for slugging. One issue is individual consistency in general. Dansby Swanson has been hitting better of late, but his fellow middle infielder Nico Hoerner has been struggling. Ian Happ, who hit a three-run homer in game two of the series with the Cardinals, has been red hot of late. But while his fellow starters Cody Bellinger, and Seiya Suzuki are hitting well, Mike Tauchman and Pete Crow-Armstrong have been down.

Then there’s the power issue. Christopher Morel is the Cubs leader in home runs and runs batted in, but has struggled at the plate recently. Still, he remains the only Cubs regular with 10 home runs or more on the season. Michael Busch (.437 slugging), the Cubs’ most consistent player overall this season, is slugging just under Morel (.440). No one else in the lineup is above .400.

It’s little wonder, then, that the Cubs rank 26th in MLB is batting with runners in scoring position this season.

The Unlikely: From Worst to Post(season)

Entering the second half of June, the Cubs sit last in the National League Central. They also have a losing record against each team in the NL Central head-to-head so far this season. Add to that the pitching staff’s carousel through the IL and the floundering offense, and you have a recipe for mediocrity. But there is hope for Cubs fans.

Despite their recent struggles, the Cubs are a mere game and a half back in the NL Wild Card hunt. There they contend with eight other teams all within two wins of each other for the last spots in the postseason.

The defense, which earlier this season let them down on an all too frequent basis, has been better of late. The addition of Crow-Armstrong gives the Cubs some great late-inning defense.

The middle infield tandem of Swanson and Hoerner is playing like Gold Glovers again. Meanwhile, Morel and Patrick Wisdom have been picking it up at third base and Busch continues his good play at first base.

Whether the Cubs will manufacture a come-from-behind berth in the post-season remains to be seen. But as summer approaches, hope springs eternal.


Photo Credit: © David Banks-USA TODAY Sports


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